Auto appraisers work with property and casualty insurance companies to assess claims related to vehicle damage. They evaluate damage from collisions and prepare cost estimates. The work of an appraiser is crucial when companies evaluate claims, investigate accidents and negotiate payouts to claimants. In Pennsylvania, motor vehicle appraisers must earn a license to work in the state. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department oversees auto appraisers in accordance with regulations in the state’s code.
Complete a training program in vehicle physical damage. Technical schools and community colleges offer courses in auto damage appraisal. You can find programs from the list of schools on the websites of the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. You must complete your training within three years of applying for a license.
Work for at least six continuous months in a job related to auto appraising that involves estimating physical damage to vehicles.
Prepare for the exam using the booklet provided by Prometric, the third-party company that Pennsylvania partners with to test auto appraisers. The test information materials can be downloaded from Prometric’s website.
Register for the written portion of the appraiser exam. You can contact Prometric online or by phone, mail and via fax.
Schedule a test with Prometric and choose a location for the exam. Test centers are located all over the state, and Prometric lists them online. There is a fee to register for the exam. If you are late or miss your exam date, Prometric charges a fee to reschedule the exam. Your test score is immediately available after you finish your exam. Prometric notifies the state of your results within two business days of the exam. The state provides you with a copy of your exam score report.
Schedule an appointment to take the practical portion of the licensing exam with Vale National, a technical training company based in Mechanicsburg.
Fax a copy of your Prometric score report to Vale. You cannot site for the Vale exam until they receive your written test results.
Travel to Mechanicsburg to take the exam. Vale administers the test on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. throughout the year. Vale forwards test results to the state no later than the Tuesday following the exam and will also email your results to you.
Apply for a license with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department. In order to receive a license you must be at least 18 years old and a resident of Pennsylvania. You can also be a resident of another state or country that accepts Pennsylvania auto appraisal credentials. The application is available online and is also in the Prometric information booklet. It takes up to six weeks for the state to process a license application.
You must renew your license each year. Licenses expire on June 30 of each year.
2016 Salary Information for Claims Adjusters, Appraisers, Examiners, and Investigators
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a median annual salary of $63,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,250, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $78,950, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 328,700 people were employed in the U.S. as claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators.