In Pennsylvania, you aren’t obligated to carry a Pennsylvania adjuster license to be able to become an insurance adjuster within the state.
That being said, it is extremely common for individuals to apply for a “designated home state” (DHS) insurance license in another state since it can grant increased employment opportunities and earning potential.
We recommend getting a DHS license in Florida. This is because a Florida DHS adjuster license has great reciprocity, the quickest licensing process, and a relatively short insurance adjuster exam.
How to Get Your Insurance Adjuster License in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania does not license insurance adjusters and does not require Pennsylvania residents to hold a license in order to operate legally within the state.
Having said that, getting a license from a different state — known as a DHS license — is often recommended nonetheless.
This is because operating without a license can handicap you significantly in the long run and will undoubtedly limit your employment opportunities.
Designated Home State Insurance Adjuster License
There are several states that offer what is called a Designated Home State license. Having said that, it is important to note that Florida, Texas, and Indiana are the most popular.
Essentially, this is a type of license that allows people that live in a non-adjuster licensing state — such as Pennsylvania or South Dakota— the opportunity to “designate” a different state (e.g., Florida, Texas, etc.) as their “home state.”
This allows them to apply for and obtain a Florida insurance adjuster license as if they were an in-state resident of Florida.
This is beneficial for several reasons, including:
- Employment – Many potential employers of claims adjusters will look specifically for applicants who are already licensed. Even if they aren’t specifically looking for licensed individuals, they are likely to prefer these over non-licensed applicants (due to the geographical flexibility advantage)
- Catastrophe (CAT) or Traveling Adjusters – If a non-licensed adjuster wishes to work on CAT claims, there is a good chance that they will need to travel across state lines. To operate in a state other than your home state, you will need to have a reciprocal license in that state. This means that applying for a reciprocity license can only be done if you hold an equivalent license in your own state (such as a DHS license)
The bottom line is this: if you wish to work in insurance claims, you should have a license to do so, and in Pennsylvania, the only way to do that is to get a designated home state license.
StateRequirement recommends getting a Florida DHS Adjuster License. This is because it has an exceptionally fast application process, short exam structure, and high reciprocity.
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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. Another key difference to note is that public adjusters will need a license to work in Pennsylvania, whereas staff, independent, and catastrophe adjusters do not.
- Staff Adjuster – Works directly for one insurance company in order to investigate, evaluate, and potentially settle claims
- Licensed 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 claims adjuster services 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 point of contact and the appropriate company official who applies each policy’s terms and standards to the claim
- Public Adjuster – This is an independent, licensed insurance adjuster that customers choose to hire in order to settle insurance claims. Public adjusters are not hired by insurance companies
Pennsylvania Public Adjuster License
If you want to become a public adjuster in Pennsylvania, you will be legally required to get licensed.
This entails completing a pre-licensing education online course and passing the Pennsylvania Public Adjuster Examination — which is 60 minutes long and includes 60 scorable questions. You must take your final exam via PSI Exams. The exam fee for public adjusters is $43.
You must also complete a fingerprint-based background check via IdentoGo (use code: 1KGBGJ).
Keep in mind that — in accordance with Act 21 of 2012, a surety bond in the amount of no less than $20,000 must be submitted with your license application. In addition, all public adjusters must use a contract approved by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department.
Note: This can also be submitted via mail, although this will likely significantly delay your application.
Pennsylvania Insurance Department Contact Information
Pennsylvania Insurance Department
Bureau of Licensing & Enforcement
1326 Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
Phone: (717) 787-3840, option 3
Fax: (717) 787-8553
Pennsylvania Insurance Adjuster License FAQ
How do I get my adjuster license in Pennsylvania?
With the exception of public adjusters, no insurance adjuster licenses are granted in the state of Pennsylvania, meaning staff, independent, and catastrophe adjusters do not need a license to work. However, it is strongly recommended that you obtain a designated home state (DHS) license in another state as this can greatly boost employment opportunities. See our Florida DHS adjuster license article for detailed licensing instructions.
Does Pennsylvania require an adjuster license?
No. Staff, independent, and catastrophe adjusters can work without a license. However, many choose to get a DHS license in another state so they are not limited to job opportunities in Pennsylvania alone. Florida and Texas are two popular options due to their high reciprocity and very fast application proccess. To read more about this, see our Pennsylvania Insurance Adjuster License article.
Which state has the hardest adjuster exam?
Many find the Texas and Florida adjuster exams to be quite tricky due to their coverage of complex and extensive insurance laws. However, an exam’s difficulty is ultimately dictated by how prepared you are, rather than the state in which you take it. To ensure you pass your DHS licensing exam on your first attempt, see our article on how to obtain a Texas DHS adjuster license.
How much does a public adjuster earn near Pennsylvania?
Public adjusters in Pennsylvania can expect to make around $55,500 on average. However, this figure can vary greatly according to your level of experience, location, and specialization. To find out more about how much you can expect to earn, check out our How Much Does an Insurance Adjuster Make article for a more in-depth look into this topic.
Which state should I choose to get my DHS license from?
Texas and Florida are two highly popular choices to obtain DHS licenses from since they offer high reciprocity and the application process is very quick. It is important to take the reciprocity of a state’s license into account when trying to choose where to get your DHS license from. Our Adjuster License Reciprocity article offers a more in-depth look into this topic.