How much do insurance adjusters make?

These industry professionals play an important role in claims-processing, but how much do insurance adjusters make? Read on and find out

How much do insurance adjusters make?


By Mark Rosanes

An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, is considered among the highest-paying careers in the industry, which is one of the top reasons why many aspiring insurance professionals dream of becoming one. But how much do insurance adjusters make? Does entry to the profession follow a smooth-sailing path? What factors impact how much claims adjusters earn?

These are just some of the questions Insurance Business will answer in this guide. If you’re still working out whether being an insurance adjuster is a worthwhile career or you’re an industry veteran wanting to compare how much you make with others in the profession, you’ve come to the right place. Read on and find out everything you need to know about an insurance adjuster’s earning potential in this article.

How much do insurance adjusters make?

Insurance adjusters earn a mean annual salary of $73,380 or an hourly rate of $35.28, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While entry-level salaries can be significantly lower than this figure, industry veterans with an established reputation and professional network can earn a six-figure salary.  

In coming up with the national average, the BLS factored in all types of insurance adjusters, including specialists that handle property, casualty, life, health, and other forms of claims for an employment estimate of 285,270. The table below reveals the percentile wage estimates for “claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators” based on the bureau’s latest Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS).   

How much do insurance adjusters make – salary estimate from lowest to highest



Annual wage

Hourly wage







50% (Median)









What factors impact how much insurance adjusters make?

As you may have noticed from the figures above, there’s a huge difference between the earnings of those in the bottom and top percentiles. This is because how much insurance adjusters make is influenced by a range of variables. These are the biggest factors that impact a claims adjuster’s earning potential.

1. Type of adjuster

There are three main types of insurance adjusters, all of whom follow slightly different payment structures, which impact how much they earn. We will discuss how these roles differ in more detail later, but generally this is how they get paid.

  • Staff insurance adjusters: These are salaried employees who work for a single insurance carrier. They earn between $40,000 and $70,000 and have access to employee benefits such as health insurance and paid leaves. 
  • Independent insurance adjusters: These professionals work as independent contractors for adjusting firms and can handle claims from different insurers at the same time. They can earn significantly more than staff adjusters, with potential earnings that can reach six-figures, depending on how hard they work. However, they don’t have access to the same employee benefits.
  • Public insurance adjusters: These are self-employed professionals who policyholders hire if they believe that they have received an incorrect or unfair settlement from their insurers. Public adjusters are paid a portion of the settlement fee, usually ranging from 5% to 20%.

2. Type of policy

How much insurance adjusters make is also affected by the type of claims they are handling. Using the BLS’ OEWS Query System, Insurance Business has found that adjusters handling life, health, and other medical claims are paid an average of $59,500 or about 23% less than those dealing with other types of insurance claims – including auto, home, and commercial – estimated at around $76,980.

3. Location

Where an insurance adjuster practices also dictates how much they can earn. Some areas, for example, are more prone to natural disasters and adjusters can be in high demand in these locations, especially after a calamity. Cost of living, public safety, and accident rates can likewise impact a claims adjuster’s earning potential.

Insurance Business also used the OEWS tool to find out how much insurance adjusters make in the following:

  • 10 highest-paying states for insurance adjusters
  • 10 lowest-paying states for insurance adjusters
  • 10 highest-paying metro areas for insurance adjusters
  • 10 lowest-paying metro areas for insurance adjusters
  • 10 highest-paying non-metro areas for insurance adjusters
  • 10 lowest-paying non-metro areas for insurance adjusters

You can check out the rankings in the tables below.

10 highest- and lowest-paying states for insurance adjusters

Insurance adjusters in the 10 states listed in the first table earn the highest salaries, while those working in the states in the next table have the lowest average annual pay.

How much do insurance adjusters make – highest-paying states

How much do insurance adjusters make – lowest-paying states

10 highest- and lowest-paying metro areas for insurance adjusters

These metropolitan areas pay claims adjusters the most and the least. Check out the figures below to find out how much insurance adjusters are paid in these areas. 

How much do insurance adjusters make – highest-paying metro areas

How much do insurance adjusters make – lowest-paying metro areas

10 highest- and lowest-paying non-metro areas for insurance adjusters

If you’re wondering how much insurance adjusters make outside the big cities, the tables below reveal the estimated median salaries in the highest and lowest-paying non-metropolitan areas.

How much do insurance adjusters make – highest-paying non-metro areas

How much do insurance adjusters make – lowest-paying non-metro areas

Insurance adjusters play a crucial role in the settlement of a claim. If you want to know how the whole process goes, our comprehensive guide on insurance claims filing and processing can help.

What are the highest-paying insurance adjuster jobs?

If you’re planning to pursue a career as an insurance adjuster or you want to move to a different role within the profession, you have several options. This employment website ranks the highest-paying insurance adjuster roles. Here are the top 10.

Top 10 highest-paying insurance adjuster jobs




Annual salary range

What they do


Auto damage estimator

$50,000 to $114,000

Inspect vehicle damage after an accident to determine what repairs are needed


General adjuster

$96,500 to $100,000

Assesses incidents to determine an insurance company’s financial liability


Independent insurance adjuster

$74,000 to $92,000

Usually employed by independent adjusting firms, they are contracted to handle claims from several insurers


Casualty claims adjuster

$80,000 to $88,500

Evaluates and settles claims related to property damage, injuries, or other losses, excluding life/health insurance claims.


Field adjuster

$72,500 to $86,500

Travels to the place of a claim to assess the damage, as opposed to a desk adjuster


Property field adjuster

$65,500 to $85,000

A field adjuster that specializes in property claims


Bodily injury adjuster

$66,500 to $81,000

Handles claims that have resulted in physical injury


Property claims adjuster

$52,500 to $78,500

Inspect and assess damage to property, including those in residential and commercial buildings


Material damage appraiser

$43,000 to $61,000

Evaluates and settles insurance claims by assigning appropriate values to damaged items


Auto damage trainee

$48,000 to $54,000

Trained to specialize in auto body damage, determine a repair estimate, and process insurance claims

An insurance adjuster is just one of the several careers in the industry that has a high earning potential. You can check out our latest rankings of the highest-paying insurance careers by clicking the link.

What does an insurance adjuster do?

Insurance adjusters are industry professionals responsible for assessing and investigating claims to determine how much or if an insurance company should pay for the losses and damages. The table below lists down the main duties and responsibilities of a claims adjuster, according to the BLS’ website.

Duties and responsibilities of an insurance adjuster

A claims adjuster should also ensure that the claims made are not fraudulent. If you want to know the lengths at which some people go to commit such crimes, you can check out our latest rankings of the worst insurance fraud cases of all-time.

As mentioned earlier, there are three main types of insurance adjusters. These are:

  1. Staff adjusters: Handle claims for a single insurance company, similar to how captive insurance agents operate. If you’re curious to know how much insurance agents make, feel free to click the link.
  2. Independent adjusters: Work for independent adjusting firms and are contracted to handle claims for different insurers often at the same time.
  3. Public adjusters: Who policyholders turn to when they feel that their claims are unfairly and incorrectly assessed.

However, there are also several sub-categories under these classes, including:

Desk adjusters vs. field adjusters

Desk adjusters, also known as inside adjusters, work in offices. They handle claims using their computers by information, including images, send to them by policyholders. Field adjusters, meanwhile, go to the center of the action. They travel to where the damage occurred, interview people there, take pictures, and assess the damage firsthand.

Catastrophe adjusters vs. daily claims adjusters

Catastrophe adjusters, also called CAT adjusters, are tasked to handle large-scale calamities, and are often deployed to disaster zones to work on the claims. Given that these professionals work extremely long hours, with each assignment lasting weeks to even months, and face brutal conditions, they are also among the highest-paid adjusters.

Daily claims adjusters, on the other hand, handle claims resulting from losses that can happen in our everyday lives, including clogged toilets, grease fires, and burglary.

Where can you find the best insurance adjuster jobs?

Insurance jobs will always be in demand as long as people need financial protection – and insurance adjusters will be among the most sought-after professionals, especially with the important role they play in the settlement of claims.

A quick online search for insurance adjuster vacancies can yield hundreds, if not thousands, of job results. This can be overwhelming and tedious to sort through. To make the job-hunting process easier for you, we have listed down the best insurance websites to search for insurance jobs. Click on the link and jumpstart your insurance career today!

How stressful is it being a claims adjuster?

Working as a claims adjuster can be extremely stressful for a number of reasons.

A claims adjuster should have empathy and understand that their clients will have varying financial situations and needs. Most claims adjusters will likely handle a lot of different cases at the same time, with varying circumstances.

It takes time and effort to analyze cases. Claims adjusters must make sound decisions quickly and work under tight deadlines.

As accidents can happen at any time, claims adjusters may also have to work outside of regular office hours. They might even have to work on holidays, so they’re usually on an on-call basis.

What is the job outlook for claims adjusters in the US?

The number of claims adjusters is expected to decline by 6% from 2021 to 2031. As of May 2021, the median wage is set at $65,080 per year for claims adjusters.

According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 19,000 claims adjusters will exit the industry. Reasons vary, such as shifting careers or going into retirement.

Despite the loss of these claims adjusters, another 23,200 claims adjuster jobs will be available for that ten-year period. 

Is it stressful to make an insurance claim?

Yes. There’s a lot of paperwork involved when making a claim – it can be tedious. Although these days, there are tech companies that make claims processing a lot easier. 

What is the purpose of a claims adjuster?

A claim adjuster investigates any insurance claims made on clients’ insurance policies. They are responsible for finding out:

  • if their client is liable for any damage to properties or injuries to third parties
  • if their client should pay for it
  • how much they should pay out of their insurance policy

What is claims adjustment and what is it for?

Claims adjustment is an integral part of fulfilling the obligations of an insurance company to its clients or policyholders. This is the process where coverage, legal liability, claim costs, and claim settlement are determined by the claims adjuster.

In a nutshell, this is the insurance company’s main business activity and the service that the company is contractually obligated to deliver.

What tasks would a claims adjuster have to do?

A claims adjuster has to do a number of tasks to carry out their job. As employees of the insurance company that’s paying for the claim, claims adjusters must review the incident thoroughly. They should use the information gathered to make an estimate that’s as accurate as possible for the claims payment.

In a sense, the claims adjuster does the work of a private investigator. They may have to review police reports, get details about the incident from witnesses, interview anyone who was injured, and inspect the damage done to insured properties.  

What skills make a good claims adjuster?

The top qualities that make for a good claims adjuster are objectivity and analytical thinking.

Objectivity is important for a claims adjuster to be good at their job. This is necessary to decide on aspects of a claim based on facts without the taint of personal biases or opinions.

Analytical thinking is needed to accurately determine the cost of the loss or damage and to arrive at the right amount for claims settlement.

Another very important but sometimes ignored skill for a claims adjuster is communication. Claims adjustment usually means getting information by talking to all sorts of people and being articulate enough to write detailed reports.

What are the top three soft skills for a claims adjuster?

The top three skills a claim adjuster needs to be successful are analytical skills, communication skills, and attention to detail.

Analytical skills are needed to make the most accurate and objective cost estimates when it comes to making claims for damages or injuries.

Communication skills are vital to getting the right information from witnesses or victims of an incident that caused harm or damage.

Attention to detail is very important when gathering relevant information to file a claim.

Another valuable skill is time management, since filing for claims can have tight deadlines.

What are the pros and cons of being an insurance claims adjuster?

As with many occupations, the job of an insurance claims adjuster has its share of pros and cons.

Most pros are that there’s excellent job security, as the demand for claims adjusters isn’t going away anytime soon.

Another advantage is ease of entry; only a high school diploma is required to start out as a claims adjuster.

A good salary is another benefit, as claims adjusters get paid a lot due to the high demand for their skills. Some travel may be necessary, so working as a claims adjuster can afford the occasional change of scenery.

As for the cons of the job, claims adjusters are usually on-call and have to inspect the scenes of accidents. This can sometimes be dangerous and unnerving.

The irregular, unpredictable hours can also make a healthy work-life balance difficult to maintain, and getting time off can prove challenging.

What are some duties of a claims adjuster?

Some duties or tasks of a claims adjuster can include:

  • gathering information from witnesses
  • examining the damage to property and the injuries of victims when appropriate
  • making the claims and processing reports
  • determining the cost of paying claimants

What is the most important responsibility of a claims adjuster?

Their main responsibility is to thoroughly inspect and assess any damage to the property covered by the insurance policy. The claims adjuster then determines if the company is liable for the damage. Finally, the claims adjuster provides the most accurate estimate for how much the company must pay for the damage or loss.

Do you think being an insurance adjuster is a career worth pursuing? Does how much insurance adjusters make play a role in that? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.  

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