The Pay of a Catastrophic Auto Hail Claims Adjuster
Yes, you can earn $500 a day as a catastrophic hail adjuster. For most companies, it is a guarantee that if you are called out and deployed you will earn $500 a day, at least. Some companies pay a higher day rate while others combine daily rates with per diems, performance bonuses, and commissions.
Over the last 5 years I have seen that adjusters who are performing well and who are a part of a core team will work on average 100 days a year. I know some people that work year-round and others that only work 50, but most people can get 100 days if they want to.
This brings your income to $50,000 in just over 3 months of work. You must factor in that you are responsible for all of your hotels, gas, and meals. You are a 1099 contractor, which means you are also responsible for taking out your taxes.
This can be a great shot in the arm for increasing your income and for jump starting a career into independent adjusting (IA). I have earned over 6 figures in 2 of my last 5 years, but I don’t tell people to plan on earning that six figures. If you have good expectations you will be more likely to succeed and eventually reach higher compensation levels.
One last thing on pay. Make sure you understand what the pay schedule is for the companies you are signing up for. Standard pay schedules are every 2 weeks, but the first company I worked for was on a 45-day pay schedule. We had to finish a storm, turn in our sheet, then wait 45 days to get paid, while continuing to work on other storms. This was brutal and hard to work through, especially if you were unaware of that pay schedule delay.
Hail adjusting is not the end destination for most adjusters. It is used as a springboard into other careers and positions. It also can be used as fill in work if you are a day to day collision adjuster.
You will have a lot of career options if you are successful as a hail adjuster.
Body Shop — The skills learned on a catastrophe are easily applied to working as a body shop estimator. Working with customers, vehicles, and in a fast-paced environment prepares you for what a body shop is like.
Independent Adjuster — Catastrophe isn’t the only way to make a living as an IA. If you have a solid income during the hail season you can easily increase your yearly income by working as an IA in your hometown. Connecting with multiple appraisal companies will help you to always have steady income.
Insurance Company — If you are looking for consistent income, insurance companies always need good adjusters who have experience, especially in the catastrophe arena.
Paintless Dent Repair Companies — Paintless Dent Repair (PDR) companies repair the hail damaged vehicles and need project managers, adjusters, and support for their company. Your knowledge of hail damage and ability to work catastrophe can lead to a good career working with a PDR company.
Catastrophe Adjuster — There are also many options other than hail that offer longer deployments in the catastrophic arena. Some of the options include, property, flood, total loss, liability, or being an inside adjuster. These are harder spots to land, but they can set you up for a lifelong career.
This is not a complete list, but just a taste of some of the career options that you will open to you once you are a bona fide catastrophic adjuster.
I recently spoke with a young man who got his start chasing hailstorms as an adjuster. He is in his second year and is doing phenomenal. His talent and skill far surpassed most veterans. Having to learn in a fast-paced hard environment like hail estimating is a great way to set yourself up for success.
A few years back the company I had started with and learned hail from collapsed in the middle of the hail season. My wife and I struggled to make it to the next hail season. We worked hard and prayed harder wondering if we would be able to re-enter the catastrophe arena with the company gone and not having a large network of contacts outside of that company.
We found ourselves blessed to get on multiple rosters and were deployed in the middle of March to Killeen Texas for a week’s worth of work. We received a call from another company on the last day of that storm asking if we were available to come work for them. They had tracked down every person from our old company and asked if they would come work for them. Why? Because being a hail adjuster is valuable and it provides you with rare skills that are worth pursuing.
I ended up working 2 months straight at $500 a day and shortly afterwards was promoted to Regional Manager.
These doors opened because of my experience as a hail adjuster. The skill of being a catastrophic hail adjuster is valued and needed. Is it right for you? I can’t answer that, but I want to help you answer that question.