How Much Do Top Insurance Adjusters Earn? A Comprehensive Guide

If you're considering a career in insurance claims adjustment, one of the most important questions you'll have is how much do insurance adjusters make? The answer is more complex than you might think. Salaries in the industry vary widely, and your income as a claims adjuster will depend on the type of insurance you handle, the type of employment you want, and how you'd like to spend most of your time. To get a better understanding of what to expect, let's take a closer look at the factors that affect the salary of insurance claims adjusters and what each type of adjuster can expect to earn. There are many different types of insurance adjustment work: field to desk, diary against disaster, car against property, commercial or personal.

Some of these have an impact on your income, while others don't. Company claims adjusters, also known as personnel adjusters, are full-time employees of insurance companies. They receive a regular salary, as well as benefits such as health insurance. Personnel adjusters typically handle ordinary, everyday claims, although there may be an opportunity to process disaster claims. Some adjusters work in the field, conducting field inspections, while others work at a desk, reviewing field reports and using claims software.

Desk and field adjusters often work as a team. Independent adjusters work for adjusting firms. Insurance companies then hire adjusting firms, usually for property, personal injury and auto insurance claims after a natural disaster or other catastrophes. This is changing as insurance companies increasingly outsource their claims to adjusting firms. The outsourcing of daily claims was usually limited to highly specialized situations or to claims where the law required the presence of an independent appraiser.

As a result, there is a growing demand for desktop adjusters, even though independent adjusters used to work almost exclusively in the field. Insurance companies are also starting to expect adjusting firms to hire adjusters as W-2 employees. This changes a lot for independent adjusters from a financial point of view. It's unclear to what extent these changes could limit the earning potential of independent appraisers in the future, but for now it's still the most lucrative job in the industry. You'll have to decide for yourself if the travel, unpredictability and lack of stable income are worth it. Most public adjusters deal with property claims, whether personal property or real estate (land or buildings).

Some public adjusters work in other sectors such as health insurance or personal injury claims. Public adjusters are paid a percentage of the settlement amount after the case is closed. Their share usually ranges from 5% to 15%. They can earn a higher percentage over time and experience.

Getting Started as an Insurance Adjuster

Are you ready to start your career as a claims adjuster? You can complete your prelicensing courses online and at your own pace in many states.

Public adjusters often work for firms that offer typical benefits such as retirement savings accounts, health care coverage and paid time off. Most people interested in becoming claims adjusters will need to have at least a high school diploma and be able to pass an insurance licensing exam. Policyholders – individuals or companies – hire public adjusters to ensure they get the largest possible settlement. Many people have heard through the grapevine – perhaps from their girlfriend's brother or the person who fixed their roof – that settling insurance claims is like money falling from trees. Becoming a claims adjuster will immerse you in the insurance industry and allow you to hold management or analyst positions.

Average Salaries for Insurance Adjusters

Below are the national average annual salary ranges for public adjusters broken down by level of experience:
  • Entry-level: $30,000 - $50,000
  • Mid-level: $50,000 - $80,000
  • Senior-level: $80,000 - $120,000
The adjuster will receive between 60% and 70% of the fees and the remaining 30% - 40% will go to the adjusting firm they work for.

During hurricane or fire season disaster adjusters can exceed a personnel adjuster's salary in a single month. The amount of money an insurance claims adjuster makes per year is the subject of considerable interest and speculation for those interested in pursuing this career path. Generally speaking personnel adjusters will earn less than independent adjusters – and in some cases much less – but like an independent appraiser public adjusters usually choose to receive a percentage of the agreement. If you're looking into becoming an insurance claims adjuster it's important to understand all aspects that affect your salary potential. The type of insurance you handle and whether you're employed by an insurance company or an adjusting firm will have an impact on your income. Public adjusters typically receive a percentage of the settlement amount after closing their cases while personnel and independent adjusters usually receive salaries plus benefits. No matter which type of claim adjusting you choose it's important to understand all aspects that affect your salary potential so that you can make an informed decision about which path is right for you.