As insurance claim adjusters and auto damage appraisers, estimatics plays a huge role in our job. If you want to get started in the industry, you’ll need to know what estimatics is and how to do it well.
This article will give you an overview of estimatics and its role in our job as adjusters and appraisers. I’ll also cover some popular auto estimating software options and how to improve your skills.
What is estimatics?
If you look up the definition of estimatics, Merriam Webster redirects you to the word “Estimation.”
The core of estimatics is the creation of an estimate. As independent adjusters and appraisers, we compile estimates and reports to determine the cost of repairs or the value of the property that has been damaged.
So I created my own definition of estimatics when it comes to estimating damaged auto and property claims:
Definition of estimatics
Estimatics is the process of determining the cost of the damage to a piece of property or the value of the property PRIOR to being damaged. Estimatics also includes creating a report to record and document the damage for an insurance claim.
Why auto damage appraisers and independent adjusters need to know estimatics
If you look at that definition, you’ll see most of an independent adjuster’s or auto damage appraiser’s job is ESTIMATICS!
Apart from the human interaction and communication part of our job, each step of the claim process is part of estimatics.
I’ve listed a few reasons why estimatics is so important below.
1. Better estimatics means better quality
This may seem obvious, but better estimates mean you are providing a higher quality service. This most often leads to MORE work and more revenue in your adjusting business.
2. Better estimatics results in fewer problems
Many of the problems and complaints about independent adjusters and appraisers result from poor estimatics. If we could eliminate those complaints, we’d encounter less problematic situations with insurance companies, shops, and property owners. Ultimately, this results in happier clients.
3. Better estimatics gives you more confidence
Knowing that you are writing a good estimate, utilizing industry-standard and proper estimatics, will result in a HUGE confidence boost for you as an appraiser or adjuster.
4. Better skills in estimatics means you get paid more
Independent adjusters who write good solid estimates can charge more for their services than those who don’t know how to properly compile an estimate, value, or report. Auto appraiser salaries will also be higher for those with better estimating skills.
That list alone should be enough incentive for you to want to improve your estimatics, but the reality is that estimatics is OUR JOB. Our customers, clients, and property owners deserve us to improve our estimatics.
Auto estimatics training
The problem for most new appraisers, is that they get stuck with the knowledge they have, and it can be hard to improve. You hit a roadblock, and it can be difficult to see damaged vehicles and our job from a new perspective.
Getting proper training can greatly improve your estimatics and change your perspective on how to do the job. Below is a great list of ways to get some estimatics training whether you are just starting out or you are a veteran looking to improve your skills.
1. IA Path Online Adjuster & Appraiser Mentorship and Training
IA Path is a leader in online auto damage training. Our virtual mentorship program is a one-of-a-kind process that enables new adjusters to bypass employer experience requirements and start working faster.
The Auto Path provides apprentices with self-paced training and 5 weeks of interactive estimate writing practice. The online group interactive training continues with ongoing support for estimate writing once you are certified. The IA Path mentorship covers job training, estimatics skills, and training in most popular auto estimating apps.
This program is designed for those who still work full-time jobs, but want to transition into a new career. The live interactive classes take place in the evening, and much of the learning is self-paced. IA Path also offers stand-alone self-paced auto damage appraiser training if you don’t need a full mentorship package.
Check out our auto appraiser and independent adjuster training programs and choose your path!
2. ICAR Auto Physical Damage Appraiser
ICAR is the pioneer of estimatics in the auto damage industry. If you want to learn the density of the metal, every rivet, bolt, and how they all work together in a vehicle, this is a great place to increase your estimatics knowledge.
They have a specific learning path designed for auto damage appraisers, rather than people who work at a body shop.
3. Vale Auto Estimatics Training
Vale Auto Estimatics Training is the most costly option at $2995, but if you are free to travel to a location for weeks at a time, Vale has a phenomenal program. Their two-week course uses hands-on training with damaged vehicles and software to make sure your knowledge is in tip-top shape.
Vale has also started to expand their classroom options with some virtual training.
Auto estimating software
With technology advancing, appraisers and adjusters have been able to get much of the estimatics knowledge from auto estimating software, to compile estimates in an industry-standard report.
These software programs determine repair hours for replacement parts, refinish and paint times for panels, and all the blend and overlap times between repairs that have duplicate operations.
Estimating software has become one of the most important tools of the trade for insurance adjusters. The software makes it so much easier to do the job that almost anyone can learn how to compile an estimate, even if you are not very experienced with auto parts and repair processes.
There are three major auto estimating software programs you can use as an independent auto damage appraiser or adjuster.
1. CCC One
The industry leader in the United States for shops and insurance companies is CCC One. This software is becoming more and more mandated for appraisers and adjusters to know.
If you are trying to decide which program to learn and use, CCC One is a safe bet. It’s the one I recommend at this time.
The software is fairly simple to use, but it lacks in the area of graphics. The images are subpar and it can be hard to determine which part is which in their part diagrams. Another drawback of CCC One is that it requires the software to be installed on your computer, which is a little 1990’s for me.
Audatex is the KING of great visuals in estimating software. Their 3D graphics allow anyone to properly identify any bracket or clip on a part.
However, the Audatex workflow is a little clunky and feels patchworked together over the years. The program feels like it’s in desperate need of an overhaul with a more user-friendly update to bring it into this century.
Currently, they have an online version, but it requires you to use Internet Explorer, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. It is useful in that you can access your estimating software from any Windows computer in a pinch.
Mitchell is the most advanced, technologically speaking and from a user standpoint, but it’s also the LEAST accepted in the industry of the three.
Mitchell’s graphics are solid and the system is intuitive. Plus, you can use any browser from ANY DEVICE to access the software.
Mitchell pioneered estimatics in the era of big books that held estimating times. Now they are the future of estimating software — if they can get the industry to come back to its roots.
Next steps to bettering your estimates
Improving your estimatics is a valuable investment in your career as an auto damage appraiser or adjuster. Learning to write good estimates is ESSENTIAL to get started in this career.
Need online auto damage training? Check out IA Path online Auto Adjuster and Appraiser mentorship and all our self-paced auto damage courses.
I highly encourage you to step out and improve your talent and skills. If you need help getting started as an independent auto damage appraiser or independent adjuster check out our free adjuster video series that walks you how to become a successful IA in your career.