Property Damage Inspector: Job Description and Requirements

Property damage inspectors usually work for insurance companies as claims adjusters. They assess the monetary amount of damage done to personal property. Though there aren't necessarily formal education requirements for the job, familiarity with their chosen field can help inspectors. Often, this can be accomplished by earning a relevant associate's degree at a community college. Learn more below.

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Property Damage Inspector Job Description

Property damage inspectors typically work for insurance companies and are commonly known as claims adjusters. Their job is to examine damage done to houses, cars and other property in an accident or random act of nature like a storm. In doing this, they analyze the validity of claims for money from insurance companies.

Inspectors estimate the monetary value of damage done to property. In addition, they conduct interviews with property owners and any others involved in the incident that initially caused the damage. They record observations of what they find and create a report, which they pass along to their employers.

Often property damage inspectors work on the road, since they must travel to the site of the damaged property. They might check in with their head office early in the day or spend an entire day traveling. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that inspectors can have erratic schedules and may work as much as 50 or 60 hours a week, especially in the event of emergencies like natural disasters (www.bls.gov).

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the field of claims adjustors, examiners and investigators is likely to experience slow growth, with an employment increase of only three percent between 2010 and 2020, largely due to reductions in employment by the federal government and some insurance carriers. Favorable prospects may be found in either health insurance or property insurance for locations prone to natural disasters. The average salary for claims adjustors, examiners and investigators in 2012 was $61,530, based on data from the BLS.

Training and Education Requirements

According to the BLS, there are few formal education requirements for property damage inspectors. Employers tend to hire college graduates, although there are no specific majors required. However, it may behoove future damage inspectors to study a curriculum relevant to the type of insurance they want to assess.

For instance, adjusters in the automotive field might earn an associate's degree in auto repair. These 2-year programs give students the knowledge to diagnose and fix all types of vehicular problems. Typically, they produce graduates who work in repair shops or for car dealerships. However, adjusters can use this knowledge to accurately estimate the cost of damage done to a vehicle.

Similarly, damage inspectors who work with real estate can earn an associate's degree in building inspection technology. Classes in these programs teach students about building codes and construction principles. Graduates can go on to become construction or building inspectors, but such knowledge assists property damage inspectors as well.

In addition to education, some states may require property damage inspectors to obtain licensing. Occasionally inspectors have to pass an examination. Some states have instituted continuing-education requirements to keep those licenses in good standing.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics