To become an insurance adjuster in California you will need to obtain a California adjuster license, which can be done in five easy steps.
First, you must undertake some form of education to be able to pass the California PSI adjuster exam. Then you have to complete a background check and submit an application to the California Department of Insurance.
Finally, you are required to execute a California surety bond and wait for your application to be reviewed by the state.
In this article, we offer everything you need to know in order to get started, helping you find the best way of getting your California insurance adjuster license.
How to Become an Insurance Adjuster in California
Getting your California adjuster license can be a simple and easy process, but this will ultimately depend on how you go about completing the required steps.
Step 1: Adjuster Pre-Exam Education
Preparing for your exam is not something to take lightly. This is because the average pass rate of insurance exams nationwide is around 55% for first-time test-takers and even less for any following attempts.
This means that it is generally recommended that you complete some form of education — such as purchasing a study guide or a state-approved online course — before sitting your exam.
These courses are composed of video, audio, and text, and include short knowledge quizzes and practice exams which will help you obtain the necessary understanding of the material that you will need to know.
Even though this is not a legal prerequisite in California, we believe that purchasing a pre-exam course can go a long way in ensuring that you pass your exam on your first attempt.
For California insurance adjuster pre-licensing courses, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 2: California Insurance Adjuster License Exam
Once you have completed all of your coursework, you will be able to take (and hopefully pass) the California insurance adjuster license exam.
This is a proctored test, which means that you will be in a controlled environment with a person watching over you. It is, therefore, a good idea to work on both your timing and nerves prior to sitting for your exam.
In California, there is only one line of authority for a licensed adjuster:
- The Independent Adjuster line — This exam consists of one hundred (100) questions and you will be given two hours and thirty-eight minutes (2:38:00) to complete it.
The exam costs $72 if you take it at any California Department of Insurance (CDI) Examination Site while it costs $105 if you take it at any PSI Test Center.
Additionally, any subsequent attempts made after the first sit of the exam will cost $29 at the CDI and $62 at the PSI, respectively.
A total score of 70% or more is required to pass this test. For more information on the scoring of the exam, the PSI California Department of Insurance Candidate Information Bulletin states:
The examinee’s “pass” or “fail” score will be displayed on screen at the end of the examination and a score report will be emailed to the examinee. If the examinee fails, the emailed score report will include the diagnostic report indicating how many questions were answered correctly.
Please note the examinee must select to end both the examination portion and the survey portion of the test in order to receive the on-screen results and emailed score report.
If the examinee does not receive an emailed score report or would like a duplicate score report, they will need to contact PSI at: email@example.com to receive the score report.
The examinee will need to include their name, examinee ID number, and confirmation number. The examinee’s examinee ID number and confirmation number are on the examination confirmation.
StateRequirement recommends that you study for one exam at a time. This is because insurance adjuster exams are difficult enough on their own without the possibility of confusing information from one line to another. This will allow you to work incrementally towards completing your final exam.
You can register to take your exam — as well as find out more information — on the PSI California Insurance or by calling PSI at (877) 392-6422.
Note: Before registering for your exam, we recommend completing some form of pre-exam education. Even though this is not a legal requirement in California, it can go a long way in ensuring that you pass your exam on your first attempt.
For your insurance adjuster pre-license education courses, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 3: Fingerprinting and Background Check
The State of California requires that all insurance license applications provide fingerprints prior to licensing. Giving your fingerprints will initiate a background check.
If you have any prior misdemeanors or felonies, this may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts.
If you have specific questions regarding things that may come up on your background check you may call the California Department of Insurance at (800) 967-9331 or send them an email.
You will process your fingerprints through Accurate Biometrics. Once you pass the exam, you will have your fingerprint impressions taken at the designated examination site.
You will need two copies of Form LIC 442-39A: Live Scan Request. Retain a copy of this form for your records.
Note: The fee for fingerprinting services is $59 at a CDI Examination Site or $69.95 at a PSI Test Center.
Step 4. California Insurance Adjuster License Application
Once you have completed your exams and fingerprinting, you are now ready to apply for your license.
Note: The fee to submit an application is $311.
You must mail a completed LIC 041-A Application Form to the Producer Licensing Bureau at the address listed below together with the check for the application fee and the exam results letter.
There is no option to apply for this license online.
Step 5. Execution of California Surety Bond
You must obtain and submit a surety bond in the penal sum of $2,000 executed by a California admitted surety, and signed by the principal.
Step 6. Application Review
Once you have submitted your application and have completed all the other requirements, your license application will be reviewed by the state. This process generally takes about fifteen to forty-five (15-45) working days. Depending on the results of your background check, the Department of Insurance may request more information or documentation.
After the review is complete, you will receive an email from the state regarding the status of your license.
You’ve done the work, put in the time and effort, and now hold the key to your own success! We’re proud of you. Take five (5) minutes and celebrate.
What Kind of Insurance Adjuster Will You Be?
There are four main types of insurance adjusters: staff adjusters, independent adjusters, catastrophe adjusters, and public adjusters.
Each of these positions accomplishes essentially the same task: assess the damage to property brought about by some event and make an evaluation of what monetary value the insurance claim should carry.
The big difference between these different types of insurance adjusters is who pays them and, in the case of the public adjuster, who they are advocating for. Staff, independent, and catastrophe adjusters all require the same type of license, while a public adjuster license is a little different in its specifications.
- Staff Adjuster – Works directly for one insurance company in order to investigate, evaluate, and potentially settle claims.
- Independent Adjuster – Works for a third-party company, often called an Independent Adjusting Firm, which has been contracted by insurance carriers to help settle their claims.
- Catastrophe (CAT) Adjuster – Can be an independent or staff adjuster who travels to an area that has been largely affected by an event (usually severe weather) and performs adjustment services to insurance claims en masse.
- Inside Adjuster – Inside adjusters, sometimes referred to as “desk” or “remote” adjusters, handle claims from an office. They are the policyholder’s main contact and the person who applies the policy terms and standards to the claim.
- Public Adjuster – Independent insurance adjusters that customers choose to hire in order to settle insurance claims. Public adjusters are not hired by insurance companies.
Note: To become a public adjuster, you must obtain a standard adjuster license, get an appointment from a public adjusting firm, gain work experience, and eventually pass an additional exam.
California Department of Insurance Contact Information
Producer Licensing Bureau
320 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (800) 967-9331
Email: Contact Form
California Insurance Adjuster License FAQ
How do I get my California adjusters license?
To get your adjuster license in California, you will need to pass the state exam, complete a background check, submit an application to the Department of Insurance, and execute a California surety bond in the penal sum of $2,000. Our article on How to Become an Insurance Adjuster provides a great overview of this process to get you started.
Do you have to have an adjuster license in California?
Yes, claims adjusters in California are required by law to pass the licensing exam and obtain their adjuster license if they want to practice in the insurance adjusting field. For guidance and tips on passing the state licensing exam on your first attempt, make sure to read our article about How to Pass the Insurance Adjuster Exam.
Is California reciprocal with the Texas adjuster license?
Among a number of other states, California does grant reciprocal licenses in Texas for licensed insurance adjusters. However, you must apply for the “Texas non-resident independent adjusters license”. For a more in-depth look at some of the other states California shares reciprocity with, be sure to read our article on Adjuster License Reciprocity.
How much does a California adjuster license cost?
Obtaining your California adjuster license should cost around $2665. However, this price can range slightly depending on the test center you select and the number of exam attempts you need. Another important cost to bear in mind is the maintenance of your license, which needs to be renewed periodically. Read our Adjuster Continuing Education article for more information about the main cost of renewing.
How long is a California adjuster license good for?
In California, adjuster licenses expire every two years on the last day of the month it was originally issued. Whether this cycle occurs in even or odd-numbered years depends on whether the year you got your license was even or odd. Our How to Renew Your California Insurance Adjuster License provides more information on the renewal process for California insurance adjusters.