Having the edge with the best insurance adjuster tools to do the job becomes an obsession for many insurance adjusters.
Most insurance adjusters, especially independent adjusters, are incredibly passionate about the job. We also tend to be very excitable about gear, equipment, technology, gadgets, and tools in general.
This article will feed your gear obsession by giving an overview of some of the best insurance adjuster tools. This list comes from personal experience on the job, putting every piece of gear through hard use in the field as a property adjuster and auto damage appraiser over the years.
I won’t just list off the normal boring stuff like ladders and tool belts (although that will be here too). I’m also going to dive into estimatics software, apps, and state of the art technology.
Insurance adjuster tools for a mobile office
Property adjusters tend to have more gear than their auto appraiser counterparts, but we’ll cover both in this section.
First, let’s talk about the essential tools adjusters must have to work in the field. The right communication tools and equipment can save you headaches and make working from your vehicle much more efficient.
1. A good cell phone (and a cheap backup phone)
The almighty cell phone has replaced the computer atop the list of most essential gear in our industry. For some adjusters, touching a computer is an afterthought.
With our phones, we can handle email, answer calls, schedule appointments, navigate to inspections, take photos, find jobs, and of course, listen to the Independent Adjuster Podcast and other podcasts, audiobooks, or music.
You don’t need to have the BEST in cell phones, but after trying and breaking many on the job, I’ve chosen a few favorites, both on the high end and the bargain end of the spectrum.
- iPhone: For all you Mac fans, yes, an iPhone will more than do the job. Just make sure you have a newer one so updates are still available for the software and apps you’ll be using. You can order directly from Apple.
- Samsung Galaxy Note: I personally like phones with a large screen. Whether you like the smaller and more slender version, or the beefy one, is up to you. Check out the options on Samsung’s website.
- LG Stylo: Bargain hunters in the house (I know there must be one other than me), I’ve had great luck with this phone, and at $250 or less, money talks. Check them out at LG.
I recommend having a backup cell phone, as well. Make it a cheap one that you can fire up just in case you drop your iPhone 11 off a two-story roof.
With a backup phone on hand, you can at least finish out the day, and wait for your Asurion replacement phone to come in. I recommend having a warranty on your cell phone with this job.
2. Cell phone plan with great coverage and unlimited data
I have been a Verizon Wireless customer for well over a decade, and l highly recommend this carrier due to their extensive coverage throughout most of the United States.
As a catastrophic adjuster, I often had a cell signal when everyone else in the area did not. It isn’t my fault I had Verizon and they had Sprint, AT&T, or Boost!
But like Verizon competitors so often point out, YES, other carriers have basically caught up in coverage. This means Verizon and their expensive plans may not be as essential as they used to be.
I’ve also had a MetroPCS phone for the past two years, and at times it has a better signal than my 4G enabled Verizon laptop. So, choose a carrier, hope it works out, and be prepared to ditch them if the coverage is causing you problems on the job.
Here are my top picks for cell carriers with excellent coverage in the United States:
No matter what, the most essential feature of your phone needs to be unlimited internet data. Don’t show up to work without an unlimited data plan. You’ll be SUNK with high phone bills and data charges.
3. A solid laptop
I am a big fan of the new style of laptop computers. Some that have served me well include Microsoft Surface and Galaxy Book. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good computer that will work on the job as an insurance adjuster.
I recommend spending $450-$800 on your computer. If you spend less than that, it likely won’t run everything you need efficiently. If you spend more, well, you’ll just be flushing money away on more bells and whistles than you need.
Mathew Allen of AdjusterTV fame, and the mentor of our training program, Property Adjuster’s Path, and I have picked our favorite laptops, and listed them below.
Matt’s pick: Dell Touchscreen 2-in-1 Inspiron 5000
My pick: Microsoft Surface Pro
When picking out a tablet-like laptop such as the surface, just make sure it is running Windows PRO. Otherwise, you won’t be able to run the programs you need to as an adjuster.
4. A mobile hotspot for your laptop
If your phone has unlimited internet, you can use it as a mobile hotspot, so why am I suggesting also buying a mobile hotspot? Frankly, your phone is a supercomputer and it’ll do everything but order roses on the anniversary you forgot…. Oh wait, it does that too!
However, working out in the field, your phone is going to be used SO much that you don’t want to destroy it by running a hotspot from it all day. You need your phone for everything else, and using it as a hotspot is a great way to run down the battery really fast. Not only will it run out of juice, but it will burn up from the heat on a Dallas roof, while you’re running a hotspot, taking photos, and leaving it out in the sun.
Give your phone a break, and get a mobile hotspot if you are serious about being an independent adjuster.
5. Car desks for adjusters
How cool is this? A desk that you can write your estimates on, that connects to your steering wheel! Don’t go without this essential for your office on the road.
And the best part? It’s a bargain! Check out this steering wheel desk, available on Amazon.
If you want to go fancy on the car desk, check out Autoexec! They have lots of desks, including their own wood steering wheel desk. Plus you can get each one in different colors and styles like mahogany and — wait for it — camo.
6. A basic digital camera
I’m not a super fan of any particular camera, but having a digital camera makes a lot of sense for an insurance adjuster. If your phone is charging, broken, or just plain doesn’t work well for photos, you can still do the job.
Also, digital cameras tend to have good battery life and lots of storage, so you will save your phone from filling up.
Insurance adjusters don’t need an expensive Nikon to take decent photos of damage. Something like this Fujifilm FinePix XP130 for under $150 on Amazon is just fine. It’s also Mathew Allen’s pick as the best digital camera for insurance adjusters.
Now that the everyday boring gear is out of the way, let’s dive into insurance adjuster tools of the trade for each type of adjusting specialty.
Auto insurance adjuster tools
In the vehicle of every auto adjuster and auto damage appraiser, are some core tools for assessing and documenting auto damage. These items include both software and physical tools to get the job done accurately and efficiently.
7. Auto damage estimating software
There are three main software tools for auto damage estimating. These are the options that auto adjusters and auto damage appraisers are able to use to complete their inspections:
I currently recommend CCC One because it’s the most widely used and accepted auto damage software in the industry. All of these options are great and cost around $200 per month.
I wish Mitchell was the most widely accepted, because they have estimating software that can be used in any browser. With the other apps, you need to have a program installed on your laptop (CCC One) or use Internet Explorer to run the web application (Audatex). What are we in, the 1990’s? We need mobile apps and browser freedom!
8. Auto damage scoping and picture-taking mobile app
Forget messy notes and missed photos! Use Successtimate by IA Path.
With this mobile app, you are guided through the auto damage inspection process and able to document the damages as you take the photos.
Currently, it works for hail claims, but flood and collision are soon to follow. It is free to try, but my guess is that you’ll save tons of time and headaches and be able to inspect faster. This app is also great if you are working with a desk writer, because it generates a report of what needs to be keyed into the estimating software.
One of my favorite features is that it works even when you are out of the signal area and offline. PERFECT!
9. Tread depth gauge
Most auto adjusters should have these sprinkled throughout their vehicle. These small tools are essential for documenting how much tread is remaining on a vehicle’s tires.
Most claims require that you have photos of the tread remaining, using a tread depth gauge.
There are digital tread depth gauges. Just in case you lose one, or the battery runs out, you should have some analog backups on hand.
Grab a pack of 10 tread depth gauges from Amazon and hit the road.
10. Auto damage measurement devices
Right after tread depth gauge the measuring tapes, sticks, and various devices for auto claims holds a special place in our heart.
You may get away with using a standard measuring tape to take measurement photos, but insurance companies and independent adjusting firms need you to have an industry-standard measuring device that will hold up in court.
The two main measuring devices you should consider are:
- Keson Pocket Rod: Available on Amazon
- Dentstick: My personal favorite. Get them from Dentstick, and use the promo code iapath20 to save 20%.
11. Magnetic arrows for auto damage
It can be difficult to point out minor damages on a vehicle. Thankfully, we have orange magnets to point out the exact location of the damage. These handy little magnets make it obvious what we are taking a photo of, by directing attention to the right spot on the vehicle.
Very useful and highly affordable, you should grab some of these magnets. Some of these magnets are marked with the letters “UPD,” which stands for unrelated prior damage. Use it when photo-documenting damages that are not a part of the current claim.
You can grab a 12-pack of each from MagnetKing.com. You need this many because you will inevitably lose some or leave them behind on a vehicle.
Tools for property adjusters
Property adjusters need some extra tools specifically for assessing damage to buildings and roofs. They also need different software tools for estimating.
Read on for the best insurance adjuster tools specifically for property adjusting.
12. Property estimating software
For property claims, there are a few different types of software you can use, but you only need to be concerned with one — Xactimate. This is the undisputed king of property estimating software.
YES, you’ll need a subscription, but they have a very generous 30-day free trial unlike the auto estimating software counterparts. They also have great apps and tools you can upgrade your subscription to incorporate.
If you need to grab it, you can head to Xactimate.com.
13. Insurance adjuster tool belts
There are two top-notch tool belts that could make me consider starting all over so I could focus on property claims rather than auto.
Both of these have so many PHENOMENAL features that I won’t list them all here. Instead, you can check out these video reviews by our Property Adjuster Mentor, Mathew Allen.
Both of these tool belts are perfect for helping hold your gear while climbing a ladder or walking on a roof.
Bully Bag: Get it direct from Bully Bag
CatManDo Tool Belt: Available on Amazon
Use coupon code ADJUSTERTV for $15 off any order over $100
14. 40’ Measuring tape
If you are going to be measuring big houses, you might as well go big with your measuring tape.
The IA Path favorite is the Stanley Fat Max (check the price on Amazon). You have to order the 40’ online, but it’s worth it!
15. Laser distance measure
Getting your job done faster means you can scope more houses, and earn more money as a property adjuster. More time means more claims completed, which means more money earned…. Worth every penny.
Instead of walking around every room holding a measurement tape, going corner to corner, and navigating around furniture, you can use this laser measure to save time!
That is why you should consider a Leica X4 Laser Measure (also available on Amazon).
16. Extension ladder
When you need to climb a roof, your ladder can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Take a look at IA Path’s top pick of ladders, so you can be ready for any scenario with the best insurance adjuster tool for climbing onto any property.
Louisville Extension Ladders: Available here
Xtend & Climb Telescoping Ladder: Available here
17. Roofing boots
A dog may be man’s best friend, but for property adjusters, their best friend isn’t a dog. It’s roofing boots. You can order these directly from Cougar Paws, or find them in roofing supply shops.
These shoes help you stick to the roof like, well, a cat, or a cougar.
Bonus: Indispensable apps for insurance adjusters
There are so many amazing apps, I can’t list them all here. But I will add my personal favorites, and the insurance adjuster software tools that will make your life easier.
These are the apps that I know many independent adjusters make full use of.
18. Accounting and bookkeeping software
Independent adjusters run their own business, and that means they need the ability to invoice, track expenses, and keep their finances organized come tax time.
Freshbooks accounting software is the best one I’ve tried, and Quickbooks also has many satisfied users.
19. Mapping and route planning app
BadgerMapping is really great for keeping track of appointments and mapping the most efficient route between them.
20. Claim management app
Livegenic is a great app for video inspections and claims management.
21. Mileage tracker
As an insurance adjuster, you’ll need to keep track of your work-related mileage for tax purposes. MileIQ automatically records and saves your mileage… IRS accepted!
Start using your claims adjuster tools in 90 days
I hope you enjoyed our list of insurance adjuster tools and gear. If you need help getting work as an independent adjuster or auto damage appraiser, sign up for our free video course, the IA Industry Orientation.
We’ll walk you through exactly how to become a successful independent adjuster, step by step. Keep walking your path and claiming your life.