States where auto damage insurance appraisers earn the most | Herald Community Newspapers

Jill Jaracz

A woman photographs a broken car on a smartphone and holds insurance documents in her hands

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Auto insurance adjusters are the people you see when something goes wrong, whether it’s after a collision or after you’ve suffered damage to your car from a storm. Their role is essential for the insured to help assess the cost of repairs to their vehicle and to determine how much insurance money drivers can get for a new car.

While this job requires observational, analytical, writing, attention to detail, and knowledge of car structure skills, it requires no more than a high school diploma or GED. to start, and the median annual salary in 2021 was $62,680. This number may vary from state to state. therefore used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on employment and wages to find the median salaries of auto damage insurance appraisers in each state and selected the top 15 to include in this analysis.

The data does not include the self-employed and the analysis excludes states that do not have employment estimates. BLS data is survey-based, which means it contains some level of error; based on these errors, there may be an overlap between actual salaries in each state that would alter these rankings.

#15. Maryland

An insurance agent takes photos of a wrecked car on his smartphone

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– Median annual salary: $73,190
-Number of jobs statewide: 220
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 8.8

Auto insurance damage assessors had a busy year in 2021. Maryland recorded 108,656 car accidents, of which 80,048 resulted in damage to cars.

#14. Maine

Car insurance agent inspecting accident claim

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– Median annual salary: $73,320
-Number of jobs statewide: 40
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 7.3

In Maine, appraisers may work weekends to collect data to file their reports. In 2021, most car accidents happened on a Friday.

Maine residents should also watch out for wildlife when driving, as black bears, moose, turkeys, deer and other animals were involved in more than 6,500 crashes in 2021. Deer were the Maine’s most accident-prone animals, accounting for 6,003 accidents. .

#13. Tennessee

The insurance agent examines the car and the client signs the claim form

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– Median annual salary: $75,660
-Number of jobs statewide: 300
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 10.1

Tennessee auto damage appraisers have been less busy than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The total number of car crashes fell nearly 16% from 2017 to 2020. However, from 2020 to 2021, crashes rose again, rising 10% to 192,914. The state also tallied 1 321 fatal accidents in 2021, a five-year high.

#12. Nevada

Officer inspecting a car involved in an accident

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– Median annual salary: $76,090
-Number of jobs statewide: 150
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 11.6

If you are an auto damage appraiser in Nevada, you probably live in Clark County. Most accidents – and 63% of fatal car accidents in 2021 – occur here, mostly due to the well-populated Las Vegas metro area.

#11. Georgia

Officer takes photos of car damage after accident

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– Median annual salary: $76,450
-Number of jobs statewide: 330
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 7.6

Risky driving is on the rise in Georgia, keeping auto damage assessors busy. Nearly half of crashes in 2020 were attributed to distracted driving.

Forty percent of the state’s fatal car crashes resulted from risky driving behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, distracted driving, or drowsy driving.

#ten. Pennsylvania

Insurance agent writing on clipboard while examining car

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– Median annual salary: $76,550
-Number of jobs statewide: 140
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 2.6

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires all motor vehicle physical damage appraisers to have a state license to perform this work. This annual process involves passing an exam and paying a fee. New graduates must also have undergone training or have six months of work experience.

#9. New Mexico

Man inspecting car damage after accident

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– Median annual salary: $76,600
– Number of jobs statewide: 90
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 11.3

In 2020 (the most recent year available), more than two-thirds of New Mexico’s 36,555 car crashes resulted in property damage only. Another 30% involved injuries and 1% fatalities. The data shows a significant drop in accidents due to the pandemic – all accidents had increased before COVID-19.

New Mexico law also allows owners of cars up to four years old to file an accident claim with their insurance company, meaning damage assessors could be called years after an accident. .

#8. Massachusetts

Female agent filling in insurance application on digital tablet

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– Median annual salary: $76,750
– Number of jobs statewide: 260
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 7.8

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Damage Appraisers must go through a thorough licensing process to prove their credentials. They must have at least three months of experience working with an appraiser and complete a board-approved damage appraiser course. Once this step is completed, they must pass written and vehicle evaluation exams.

#seven. Washington

Front of black car damaged by accident on the road

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– Median annual salary: $77,230
-Number of jobs statewide: 270
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 8.4

Even during the pandemic, auto damage insurance appraisers were in demand. Instead of a pandemic-related drop in car crashes, Washington state residents saw a 6% increase in serious and fatal crashes from 2019 to 2020, which had 2,607 crashes. This number increased further by 13% in 2021 to reach 2,951 accidents.

Salaries for damage assessors can also be high due to Seattle’s cost of living, which is nearly 51% higher than the US average.

#6. California

Loss adjuster using a digital tablet while inspecting a car wreck

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– Median annual salary: $77,940
– Number of jobs statewide: 1,720
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 10.4

The nation’s largest state offers auto damage appraisers a good salary, but appraisers work hard to earn it. In 2021, the state reported 161,131 accidents resulting in injury or death — this figure does not include simple fender benders. Most accidents happen, unsurprisingly, in heavily populated Southern California and around the Bay Area.

#5. Oregon

Driver hand examining dented car with damaged fender parked on city street side

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– Median annual salary: $78,470
– Number of jobs statewide: 130
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 7

Auto damage appraisers in Oregon can find plenty of work in the western part of the state. In 2020 (the most recent year available), 82% of the state’s crashes occurred in this region.

The higher salaries for these roles are likely influenced by a higher cost of living: Oregon was ranked the 8th most expensive state in the nation.

#4. New Jersey

Man inspecting damage on a car

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– Median annual salary: $78,860
-Number of jobs statewide: 320
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 8.4

The pandemic caused a 31% decrease in car accidents in New Jersey in 2020 (the most recent year available), primarily due to people staying there. That said, auto damage insurance appraisers still noted many accidents: 190,783 for the year.

New Jersey law also has a six-year limit on property damage claims, meaning appraisers could work on cases from recent years.

#3. Hawaii

A man and an insurance agent examine documents after a car accident

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– Median annual salary: $79,920
-Number of jobs statewide: 60
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 10.7

Hawaii’s remote location from the continental United States likely impacts auto damage appraiser salaries. While the job’s median salary might seem high, those dollars might not stretch the way they might on the continent. The state is the most expensive in the United States and Honolulu is the second most expensive city in the country.

#2. New York

Insurance agent holding tablet examining car damage

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– Median annual salary: $81,410
-Number of jobs statewide: 330
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 3.8

Although auto damage appraisers have been less busy in New York during the pandemic, work is picking up again with the rise in car accidents. Before the pandemic, the state had 447,021 accidents. That number dropped by more than 100,000 in 2020, but preliminary data for 2021 shows 371,900 crashes occurred in the state.

Appraiser salaries also tend to increase due to the high cost of living in New York City. Manhattan is the most expensive place to live in the United States, with costs 137.8% above average.

#1. Connecticut

Man and insurance agent look at clipboard above damaged car

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– Median annual salary: $82,690
-Number of jobs statewide: 70
– Employment per 100,000 jobs: 4.7

Connecticut is a state that requires auto damage appraisers to be licensed. To be licensed, appraisers must pass an exam covering knowledge of state insurance law, car design and structure. A license costs money, but is valid for two years.

This story originally appeared on and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

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