What is an insurance adjuster?

An insurance adjuster, also known as a claims adjuster, is a person who investigates an insurance claim to determine if the insurer should pay for damage or injuries, and if so, how much they should pay. For example, if you're in a car accident and file a claim with your insurer for the damage to your vehicle, they'll assign a claims adjuster to your case to verify you have the applicable coverages and the damage is covered. Adjusters may also work with you to get your vehicle inspected or set up repairs on your behalf.

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What does an adjuster do?

Insurance adjusters assess many types of claims, including insurance claims resulting from car accidents. Below are the steps adjusters usually take when investigating a car insurance claim for vehicle damage, though the exact steps may vary by insurer:

  1. Review claim details & your policy: The adjuster assigned to your claim will first review the details of the accident/loss you submitted with your claim. They'll also review your policy to determine which of your coverages may apply to your claim.

  2. Interview those involved: The adjuster will collect recorded statements from people involved in the loss, such as drivers, passengers, and witnesses. They may also review the scene of the accident, police reports, or video footage of the loss, along with any other information related to the loss.

  3. Go over your options: If the adjuster determines that the damage is covered, they'll go over your options with you. Typically, you can decide to move forward with repairs or get an inspection first to determine how much repairs will cost. For an inspection, your adjuster will coordinate the inspection of your vehicle and write up a repair estimate.

You can then choose to either have your adjuster set up repairs or you can take the claim payout and set up repairs yourself. If your vehicle is totaled, your insurer will pay you the actual cash value of the vehicle, minus your deductible.

Pro tip:

If you're wondering how to talk to an insurance claims adjuster, understand they want to know basic information about the accident. They'll ask you to share details including what happened, where it happened, the types of vehicles involved, and perhaps the other driver's identity. If there were witnesses to the accident, you should consider sharing that information too. If you don't know the answer, it's OK to say so.

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