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Claims Adjusting Outside Your Home State

When you decide to become an insurance adjuster, the first thing you have to do is get your insurance adjuster license. Insurance licensing is done at the state level, so each state has their own licensing exams and procedures. We all know that disasters aren’t restricted to any one state. Therefore, neither are adjusters. When there are major disasters, there is far more work than any one state’s adjusters could handle. So at these times and many others, adjusters travel to states outside their own to adjust claims. 

So, how does that work with licensing? Does your home state license allow you to adjust anywhere? Do you have to get fully licensed in every state where you work? Here’s the 411 on how licensing works when you adjust claims out of state.

The State of Licensing

As we mentioned above, insurance adjuster licensing is handled at the state level. Each state and the District of Columbia has its own Department of Insurance. They all have different requirements and rules for licensing insurance professionals, including adjusters.

Many states require a license to work as an insurance adjuster within its borders. These states include Texas, Florida, California, New York, all the coastal states, and many more. These states offer a comprehensive licensing exam to prospective adjusters in their state. Many of them also issue reciprocal licenses to adjusters in other states (see below) who are already licensed there.

However, there are states that don’t require a license at all. Some notable states that frequently require outside help are Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Colorado is susceptible to wildfires, notably dealing with many this past very active season. Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska are famously part of “tornado alley” and can be hit pretty hard during spring storm season.

What is Reciprocity?

Reciprocity refers to states’ policies around licensing for adjusters who don’t reside in their state, but are licensed in their home state. These states provide a license to adjusters who are licensed in their home state without taking their state exam or participating in any other state specific training. These states operate under the assumption that if an adjuster has gone through the rigorous process in their own state, they are qualified to operate outside it as well. Adjusters still have to apply, show proof of their licensing, and pay any required fees. 

Some states don’t offer reciprocity. New York, California, and Hawaii require any insurance adjusters in their states to pass their own state exams and meet all requirements. In turn, some states that do participate in reciprocity don’t offer it to residents of these states. This means that a resident of New York could not receive a reciprocal license in Florida, even though it is available to residents of other states. 

States of Emergency

There are many variations and exceptions to adjuster licensing from state to state. Another one happens when a large scale disaster strikes. When major hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or wildfires strike, some states simply throw out the rules completely. Insurance commissioners can declare a state of emergency, and grant an open door policy to licensed adjusters from other states. This is different from the state of emergency that is declared by governors when they need federal aid. This happens when the department of insurance observes that a disaster is widespread and destructive enough that their population of licensed adjusters isn’t enough to handle the claims. This is a somewhat rare occurrence, but it does happen.

Be Prepared with 2021 Training

2021 Training offers convenient, high quality online training and testing for insurance adjusters. Don’t wait until it’s time to deploy to get your license or earn your CEUs. Visit our courses page and start right away and make sure you’re ready to go!


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