How to Become an Insurance Adjuster in Washington

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Cartoon man holding Washington Insurance Adjuster

    Getting a Washington insurance adjuster license requires completing a few steps to apply for a resident license in your state.

    Washington requires an adjuster to successfully pass an exam before obtaining a license. To become an insurance adjuster in Washington, simply complete the steps below to get your insurance adjuster license.


    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 provides five easy steps on how to get a Washington insurance adjuster license. These steps cover the process of applying for a standard insurance claims adjuster license (sometimes known as an independent adjuster license).


    How to Get Your Insurance Adjuster License in Washington

    Getting your Washington insurance adjuster license is a simple and easy process. Follow these 5 easy steps to get started. Don’t forget to bookmark this page so that you can refer to it again throughout the process.

    Step 1. Adjuster Pre-Exam Education

    Before you can take the state exam, you must meet one of the prerequisites:

    • College Education
      • Associate in Claims (AIC)
      • American Education Institute (AEI) property program
    • Adjuster Trainee Program
      • Work under a  supervisor who is a resident licensed adjuster
      • Include all loss-adjustment activities and responsibilities
      • Six to nine (6-9) months in length, totaling at least 960 working hours

    Before you can begin an adjuster-trainee program, your supervising adjuster (employer) must fax (360-586-2019) or email the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner that you are beginning a training program with them, detailing your exact dates of employment. You must be a salaried employee during this training period.

    Your employer (supervising adjuster) must clearly document the details of your training, including:

    – The months your training was provided
    – The topics covered
    – The number of hours of training you received per topic

    If you have twelve consecutive months working as a full-time, salaried insurance company or managing general agent (MGA) adjuster, you are exempt from taking the state exam.

    For more information about the prerequisites and exemption, you may check the Washington Insurance Adjuster License page.

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    Step 2. Washington Insurance Adjuster License Exam

    The next step after completing your pre-examination requirement is to take and pass the Washington 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.

    Washington offers an Independent Adjuster line and a Crop Adjuster line.

    • The Independent Adjuster license exam consists of one hundred (100) questions, and you have two hours and fifteen minutes (2:15) to complete it
    • The Crop Adjuster license exam consists of fifty (50) questions, and you have one hour (1:00) to complete it

    An outline of included subjects for these exams can be found here:

    Each attempt of the exam costs $53 and will be paid when you make your reservation.

    A total score of 70% or more is required to pass this test. For more information on the scoring of the exam, we will quote the PSI Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner Candidate Information Bulletin

    Score Reporting

    You must get 70% correct to pass the examination. Your score will be given to you immediately following completion of the examination. The following summary describes the score reporting process:

    – If you pass, you will receive a successful score report.

    – If you do not pass, you will receive a diagnostic report indicating your strengths and weaknesses by examination type on the score report.”

    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.


    StateRequirement recommends that you study for one exam at a time, then after passing, starting on your next line. The exams are difficult enough on their own without confusing information from one line to another.

    You may register to take your exams and find more information on the PSI Washington Insurance page or by calling PSI at (800) 733-9267.


    Step 3. Fingerprinting and Background Check

    The State of Washington 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 Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner at (360) 725-7144 or send them an email.

    You will process your fingerprints through IdentoGO. Appointments can be made on their website or by phone at (888) 771-5097.

    The fee for fingerprinting services is $49.25.


    Step 4. Washington 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 online application is $55.

    Apply online with the Washington Insurance License Application.

    Be sure to upload your exam score report together with the proof of pre-exam experience or pre-exam education requirement on your online application.


    Step 5. 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 (15) business 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.

    Washington Department of Insurance Contact Information

    Mailing Address:

    Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
    P.O. Box 40257
    Olympia, Washington 98504

    Phone: (360) 725-7144

    Fax: (360) 586-2019

    Email: Contact Form


    Washington Insurance Adjuster License FAQ

    How long does it take to become an insurance adjuster in Washington? 

    In Washington, the process of insurance adjuster licensing can range from a few weeks to a few months (pre-exam education, pre-license exam, background checks, license application, and application review). Follow the steps above to get your insurance license in Washington.


    Do you need a license to become an insurance adjuster?

    Yes. Earning an insurance adjuster license allows you to increase your income potential, add to your credibility, and qualify for advanced employment opportunities.


    Is being an insurance adjuster difficult?

    Being an insurance adjuster can be a highly rewarding role. In fact, insurance claims adjusters enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction, according to Payscale.


    How much do insurance adjusters make?

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most recent median annual salary for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators was $65,080. This was higher than the median salary for all occupations in May 2021, which was $45,760. The highest earners worked for the government, with a median salary of $81,890.

    If you want to work as a catastrophe (CAT) adjuster in areas frequently affected by natural disasters (like the Gulf Coast), you will likely have higher earnings potential and employment. For independent insurance adjusters that work on commission rather than salary, the high demand for claims adjusters in these areas can result in a lot of business.


    What skills are needed to be an insurance adjuster?

    Insurance claims adjusters typically investigate insurance claims and travel to locations to inspect property (such as automobiles, buildings, etc.), assess damage, and make notes on repairs and costs. Insurance adjusters deal with individuals in high-stress situations a lot so you must have a professional attitude at all times.

    Due to the nature of the job, insurance claims adjusters must have excellent communications skills, write clearly, be comfortable with math and basic computer software, and have a flexible schedule since they travel a lot to areas hit by disasters with irregular work hours. Insurance adjusters must have specific industry knowledge to interpret contracts, determine insurance claim payouts, and make recommendations for how the insurance company proceeds in resolving the claim.


    Do you need a degree to be an insurance adjuster?

    You don’t need a four-year degree to become licensed as an insurance adjuster. However, you will need to complete your education requirements or pass the Washington insurance adjuster exam to be a licensed insurance adjuster.

    One of the prerequisites to fulfill your education requirements is to complete a minimum number of hours of college level insurance-related coursework. If you are working on an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you can take courses that will work toward the Washington insurance adjuster license requirements.

    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in November 2022.

    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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