How to Become an Auto Damage Appraiser

Auto damage appraisal is an important part of the insurance industry that deals with identifying the required repairs for automobiles and estimating their costs. Auto damage appraisers are trained professionals that are responsible for inspecting damaged vehicles and providing an estimate on the repair costs.

What does an auto damage appraiser do?

Auto damage appraisers are typically employed independent adjusting firms or insurance companies to examine and estimate the repair costs of vehicles involved in accidents or other incidents. They perform inspections and then write detailed reports and pass them on to adjusters to process. Auto damage appraisers often use computers and specialized software to assist with their work and download the required forms and files from the insurance company or firm.

What kind of training does an auto damage appraiser need?

Auto damage appraisers must have at least a high school diploma, but many employers prefer candidates with some formal training and/or previous experience. Many community colleges and vocational and technical schools offer programs in auto damage repair. Auto damage appraisers must have a solid understanding of how to identify the needed repairs and estimate their cost. Most employers provide informal on the job training to enable new auto damage appraisers to gain the necessary skills and experience and learn the policies and procedures of the employer. New auto damage appraisers often start out working on small claims while being supervised by experienced appraisers. They move on to more complex tasks as they gain experience. Auto damage appraisers must complete continuing education to keep up to date on the changes to laws and handling of claims. They must also keep abreast on new models of cars and advanced repair methods.

What are the prospects for a career as an auto damage appraiser?

Employment of auto damage appraisers is expected to experience little to no change from 2008 to 2018 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be fair with strong competition. Auto damage appraisers with formal training and extensive auto body shop experience will have the best job opportunities. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace auto damage appraisers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do auto damage appraisers make?

As of January 2010, auto damage appraisers with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $30,968 and $41,212. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $39,047 and $50,241 (2).

A career as an auto damage appraiser is a great choice for people with a strong interest in auto body repair and estimating the costs to repair a variety of vehicles. Auto damage appraisers must have a solid understanding of how to inspect and estimate repairs and costs. Patience, self-confidence, detail orientation, and mechanical aptitude are necessary characteristics. Auto damage appraisers must have good communication because they often work with a variety of clients and other workers.

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