How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

The average insurance adjuster’s salary will vary based on a variety of factors, such as an adjuster’s level of experience, location, industry, and specialty.

Typically, adjusters earn their payments after an insurance claim is settled. Some claims adjusters will receive a percentage of the settlement and some earn an annual or monthly salary regardless of how the claim was settled.

Our How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make article breaks down the different factors that affect adjusters’ salaries, offering general estimations of what you can expect to earn when starting out.

What is the Average Insurance Adjuster Salary?

The average salary of an insurance claims adjuster can vary depending on several factors, such as their level of experience, location, and type of insurance that they specialize in.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as of May 2021, the median annual salary for insurance adjusters, examiners, and investigators was $65,080, with the lowest 10% earning less than $41,490 and the highest 10% earning more than $101,290.

These figures may vary depending on the specific industry and company a claims adjuster works for, as well as their level of education and certification.

To learn more about becoming an insurance adjuster, check out our How to Become an Insurance Adjuster page.

Where Do Insurance Adjusters Make the Most Money?

Insurance adjusters can earn different salaries based on their location, the industry they work in, and their level of experience. Based on the BLS report, the top-paying states for adjusters are:

  • Connecticut: The average annual salary for insurance adjusters in Connecticut is $87,680, which is significantly higher than the national average.
  • New Jersey: The average salary for insurance adjusters in New Jersey is $86,760, which is also higher than the national average.
  • Washington D.C.: Insurance adjusters in the nation’s capital earn an average salary of $83,130 per year.
  • New York: The average salary for insurance adjusters in New York is $79,760 per year.
  • Maryland: Insurance adjusters in Massachusetts earn an average of $79,310 annually.

It’s important to note that salaries can vary based on the industry an insurance adjuster works in. For example, those who specialize in medical malpractice or product liability claims may earn more than those who work in property insurance.

How to Make the Most of Your Insurance Adjuster Career

To make the most of your insurance adjuster career and increase your salary, there are several things you can do:

  • Continuous learning: As an insurance adjuster, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends and regulations. Consider taking additional courses or certifications to expand your knowledge and skills.
  • Networking: Building strong relationships with others in the industry can help you stay informed of new opportunities and stay up-to-date with industry news. Attend industry events and conferences, and join professional organizations to connect with others in the field.
  • Being proactive: Take initiative and seek out new opportunities to expand your skill set and advance your career. Look for ways to improve processes and procedures within your organization, and make suggestions to management.
  • Building strong relationships with clients: Developing strong relationships with clients is essential to being successful as an insurance adjuster. Keep open lines of communication, and work to ensure that clients are satisfied with your services.
  • Staying organized: Keeping track of deadlines, schedules, and paperwork is crucial to being a successful insurance adjuster. Develop a system that works for you, and stay on top of tasks to ensure that everything is completed on time.

Being a successful insurance adjuster requires a combination of technical knowledge, people skills, and organization. By continuously improving your skills, networking, taking initiative, building strong relationships with clients, and staying organized, you can make the most of your insurance adjuster career.

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How Do Adjusters Get Paid?

Insurance adjusters can be paid in a few different ways, depending on the type of adjuster and the company they work for.

Here are some of the common ways that adjusters get paid:

  • Fixed salary: Staff adjusters who work for an insurance company are typically paid a salary. They receive a fixed amount of money every pay period, regardless of how many claims they handle.
  • Hourly rate: Some adjusters may be paid an hourly rate for the time they spend working on a claim. This method of payment is more common for claims examiners who work for insurance companies.
  • Commission-based: Some adjusters, such as public adjusters, may be paid a percentage of the total claim settlement amount. The percentage can range from 5% to 20%, depending on the type of claim and the size of the settlement.
  • Fee schedule: Independent adjusters may be paid based on a fee schedule, which outlines the fees they will be paid for different types of claims they handle. The fees are usually based on a percentage of the total claim settlement amount.
  • Retainer fee: Independent claims adjusters may be paid a retainer fee to be on call for a specific period, such as a hurricane season. The fee is paid upfront and ensures the adjuster’s availability when needed.

Types of Insurance Adjusters

There are various types of insurance adjusters, including:

  • Staff Adjusters: They work as salaried employees of an insurance company, and their salaries may range from $30,000 to $70,000 per year (depending on their level of experience).
  • Independent Adjusters: These individuals work as contractors for insurance companies and typically earn a percentage of the settlement that they negotiate. They handle all types of claims, from auto to catastrophic claims. According to The Wall Street Journal, independent catastrophe adjusters have made between $65,000 and $100,000 in a single month when handling catastrophic claims after a hurricane.
  • Public Adjusters: These insurance claims adjusters work for policyholders, representing their interests in insurance claims and typically earning a percentage of the claim settlement. Public adjuster salaries can range from $30,000 to $100,000 per year, depending on their experience and the size of the claims that they handle.

Adjusters in Management Roles

Insurance adjusters who work in management roles typically earn more than those who work in entry-level positions. It’s because those who work in management roles have many years of experience in the industry and have developed a specialized skill set that enables them to effectively manage a team of adjusters.

The salaries of adjusters in management roles can vary based on the industry they work in. For example, according to a 2021 survey by the Claims Journal, the median salary for claims managers in the property and casualty insurance industry was $97,500.

Adjusters Running Their Own Agencies

Insurance claims adjusters who open their own insurance companies earn revenue by charging a percentage of the total amount of the claim they help settle. This percentage can vary, but is typically around 10% to 20% of the total amount of the claim.

Ultimately, the earnings of an insurance adjusting business will depend on its ability to attract and retain clients, reputation for delivering quality services, and efficiency in managing claims.

If you’re looking to start an insurance business, take a look at How to Get an Insurance License for an LLC to find out how you can get an insurance business license.

Insurance Agent vs. Adjuster Salary

The salary of an insurance agent and an insurance adjuster depends on the location, experience, level of education, and the type of insurance license they have.

The BLS reported that the median annual salary for insurance agents in 2021 was $49,840, and the median annual salary for insurance adjusters was $65,080.

It’s worth noting that both insurance agents and adjusters have the potential to earn more than the median salary through commission payouts, bonuses, and other incentives. Since various factors can affect the salary, it’s essential to consider all of this while comparing the salaries of an insurance agent and an insurance adjuster.

See our Insurance Agent vs. Insurance Adjuster review for more information.

Insurance Adjuster Salary FAQ

What type of insurance adjuster makes the most money?

The type of insurance adjuster that makes the most money will vary based on the type of insurance claims they handle, their level of experience, and the location of their work. Usually, independent adjusters who handle catastrophic large-scale claims resulting from natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires are often in high demand. They can earn high salaries due to the complexity and severity of the claims.

Can an insurance adjuster work from home?

Yes. Insurance adjusters can work from home, especially with the advances in technology and the availability of remote working tools. Many insurance companies have implemented work-from-home policies for their employees, including insurance adjusters. Adjuster tools, such as communication devices, estimating software, and other apps, enable insurance adjusters to conduct interviews, investigate claims, and review documentation from the comfort of their own homes. However, some types of insurance claims may need an adjuster to be present in person to inspect the damage. In such cases, the adjuster must go to the site of the claim to complete their work.

Are insurance adjusters in high demand?

Yes. There is generally a great need for insurance adjusters in the industry, which can offer stable employment opportunities for those with the necessary skills and qualifications.

What are the working hours for insurance adjusters?

Working hours for insurance adjusters depend on the specific employer, type of insurance, and the needs of the job. Typically, adjusters work a standard 40-hour workweek with the option for overtime or on-call work if necessary. Some insurance adjusters may have more flexible schedules, especially those who work as independent adjusters or in a freelance capacity. They may have more control over their schedules, but may also be required to work evenings or weekends to accommodate client needs.

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