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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 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for automotive body and related repairers in the United States was $47,670 in May 2022.28 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.

UTI Campuses That Offer Collision Repair Training

With classes starting every 3-6 weeks, no need to wait to start your career.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

28) UTI’s Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology (CRRT) Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as collision repair technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Body and Related Repairers as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a collision repair technician, such as appraiser, estimator and inspector. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Automotive Body and Related Repairers (49-3021) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $30,400 to $34,240 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled collision repair technicians in North Carolina is $22.35 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Body and Related Repairers). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $18.80 and $14.95, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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