Auto Damage Appraiser Job Description & Career Information

Mar 17, 2021 ·
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Have you ever wondered how an insurance company determines how much money you get when you’ve been in a car accident? The process is pretty involved, and it may require the work of an auto damage appraiser to confirm what type of work is required to fix a vehicle.

Auto damage appraisers get to check out a variety of vehicles that have been in unique situations. They collaborate with insurance companies, auto repairers and law enforcement.

If you have a passion for cars, enjoy investigating problems and like collaborating with others, a career as an auto damage appraiser may be for you. Read on to learn what an auto damage appraiser does, what the career outlook is like, and how to become an auto damage appraiser.

What Does an Auto Damage Appraiser Do?

After an accident, the person who owns the vehicle affected by the accident will contact their insurance company to file a claim. That way, they’ll receive money to help get their car repaired without having to worry about paying the full amount.

Sometimes, people try to scam insurance companies. They claim there’s more damage than there really is to a vehicle, or they misconstrue what happened during the accident. Part of the auto damage appraiser’s job is to travel to the vehicle in question and inspect its condition. They then report to the insurance company to ensure the company pays what’s fair.

The typical daily duties of an auto damage appraiser might include:

  • Investigating, analyzing and settling insurance claims
  • Determining whether the damage that has been done is covered by the insurance policy
  • Deciding on the extent of the damage and the amount the insurance company should pay
  • Determining the salvage value of vehicles that are beyond repair
  • Identifying fraud
  • Communicating with repair technicians, law enforcement and legal counsel when needed
  • Negotiating settlements and authorizing payments

Auto damage appraisers inspect a variety of vehicles and collaborate with insurance companies, auto repairers and law enforcement officers.

Because auto damage appraisers are working with vehicles, they need expert knowledge about auto repair and how much it could cost. Having a background as a collision repair technician can help when someone wants to move from working in a garage to working in the field as an auto damage appraiser.

Job Outlook & Salary for Auto Damage Appraisers

Auto damage appraisers with backgrounds as collision repair technicians have great income potential. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for automotive body and related repairers was $45,350 in May 2020.28 This means half of collision repair technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary varies based on a variety of factors, including experience, employer, industry and demand in the area.

As long as there are cars on the road, there will be accidents — which means there will be a need for professionals who can assess and repair damage to vehicles. Auto damage appraisers can work for insurance carriers, agencies or brokerages. Some work for professional, scientific and technical services, in automotive repair and maintenance, and for automobile dealers.

How to Become an Auto Damage Appraiser

To be successful, auto damage appraisers need to be detail-oriented and have excellent interpersonal communication skills, since they work with many different parties to get the job done. They also need to be thorough and accurate in their work.

Auto damage appraisers often have a postsecondary nondegree award, have experience working in an auto repair shop, or have previous work experience in identifying and estimating auto repair costs. Some states have certain licensing requirements as well.

Collision Repair Program at UTI

Studying Collision Repair & Refinish Technology, like the program offered at Universal Technical Institute (UTI), can help prepare aspiring auto damage appraisers for work in the field.1 The program takes 51 to 54 weeks from start to finish and is available at UTI campuses in Houston, Texas, and Long Beach, California.

During the program, students work with tools, technology and equipment from leading industry brands to learn how to repair vehicles. Graduates earn several certificates, including an Estimating Level I certificate from I-CAR. This certificate and training prepare students for estimating damage, which can help in an auto damage appraiser career.

If you’re interested in working as an auto damage appraiser, UTI training can help. Programs start every three to six weeks, so you can get started quickly to work toward a career you love.

Contact us online or call 1-800-834-7308 for more information.

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