How To Become An Insurance Adjuster In California

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

    What Kind Of Insurance Adjuster Will You Be?

    There are four main types of insurance adjusters: staff adjuster, independent adjuster, catastrophe adjuster, and public adjuster.

    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 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 an insurance company
    • Independent Adjuster – Works for a third-party company who performs insurance adjuster work and is contracted by an insurance company
    • Catastrophe (CAT) Adjuster – An independent adjuster who travels to an area that has been largely affected by an event (usually severe weather) and performs claims adjuster services en masse
    • Public Adjuster – Is an advocate for the insurance customer, not the insurance company (requires a different type of license)

    This article will cover a standard insurance claims adjuster license (sometimes known as an independent adjuster license), not a public adjuster license.


    How To Get Your Insurance Adjuster License In California

    This article will cover a standard insurance claims adjuster license (sometimes known as an independent adjuster license), not a public adjuster license.



    Step 1. Adjuster Pre-Exam Education

    Preparation for this exam is not something to take lightly, as the average pass rate of insurance exams nationwide is around 55% for first-time test-takers, and even less for any following attempts. We want you to pass your test the first time you take it.

    Studying for this exam can take many different forms. The most common way to get prepared is to take an online study course. These courses are generally comprised of video and text with short knowledge quizzes to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding.

    A slightly more minimal approach would be to purchase a state-specific study guide. These guides give you all of the facts that you need to pass the exam and maybe a bit less expensive than a course. They are, however, quite long and densely packed books, so be sure you are ready to tackle this task.

    You should choose the method that fits best for you. Some people learn best out of a book, while others take in information better through video and short text. Remember, the goal is to pass your exam on the first attempt, so pick your best path forward and study hard.


    Recommended Course

    For adjuster pre-licensing and study materials, StateRequirement recommends: Kaplan Education Company



    Step 2. California Insurance Adjuster License Exam

    The next step after completing all your coursework is to take and 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. For people who haven’t tested in a situation like this should be aware of this fact, and work on taming their nerves prior to sitting for the exam. When you arrive at the exam location you must have a photo ID any other documents that the testing facility has asked you to bring.

    California offers one line of authority for an adjuster: Independent Adjuster. This exam consists of one hundred (100) questions and you will be given two hours and thirty-eight minutes (2:38) to complete it.

    An outline of included subjects for the exam can be found here: California Department of Insurance Insurance Adjuster (Independent)

    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. Any attempts after the first will cost $29 through CDI and $62 through PSI, respectively.

    Neither PSI nor the California Department of Insurance advises what a “passing score” is, or how the exams are scored. For more information on the scoring of the exam, we will quote the PSI California Department of Insurance Candidate Information Bulletin

    Score Reporting

    The examination proctor will give you an official score report immediately following completion of the examination. If you pass, you will immediately receive a successful notification and performance summary on a CDI examination results letter. If you do not pass, you will immediately receive an unsuccessful CDI examination results letter along with a diagnostic report indicating your strengths and weaknesses by examination portion.


    Insurance license tests are intentionally difficult, but not impossible by any means. You should study to the point of comfortability with the information before you attempt the test. Failing the exam isn’t the end of the world, but keep in mind that you will need to pay the fee each time you attempt the test.

    You may register to take your exams and find more information on the PSI California Insurance page or by calling PSI at (877) 392-6422.



    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  Live Scan Request, form LIC 442-39A. Retain a copy of this form for your records.

    The fee for fingerprinting services is $59 in a CDI Examination Site or $68.95 in 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.

    The fee for an application is $311.

    You must mail a completed LIC 041-A Application Form to 320 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, CA 95814-4309 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.

    California Department Of Insurance Contact Information

    Mailing Address:

    California Department of Insurance
    Producer Licensing Bureau
    320 Capitol Mall
    Sacramento, California 95814

    Phone: (800) 967-9331

    Email: Contact Form


    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in February 2021.

    Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliated with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.

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