Insurance Adjuster Exam Prep vs Pre Licensing

UPDATE: Florida’s processing time for adjuster license applications is reported to be FIVE DAYS!

Also, Florida requires fingerprinting, which will be honored by other reciprocal states.


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What's the difference between exam prep and pre licensing?

Clarification from AdjusterPro:

Pre-licensing isn't really about whether or not the provider can offer you the state exam or exam exemption, or about the course or services you'll receive from said provider. When you see "pre-licensing," it means that state requires you to take a licensing course before you can register to take the state adjuster exam.

No surprise here, but as an adjuster education provider, we always recommend taking a course to help you prepare to pass your state exam. But to be candid, in most states you don't have to. In say, Oklahoma or New York, you can talk to adjusters and read state insurance statutes and peruse local legal websites to hopefully learn what you need for any given state's exam. Sounds fun, right?

But for pre-licensing states, you DO have to take an education course before you can take the exam - and you'll have to provide proof of completion. Only then can you take your exam. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, and Texas require you to complete a pre-licensing course. And in most of those states, AdjusterPro or your education provider can offer the course with the state exam or equivalent. It makes it easier on you as a student and helps the licensing process move more quickly for the states. Georgia and Mississippi are the exceptions - they have a pre-licensing requirement you'll have to satisfy but the exam is only offered in person from a testing provider like PearsonVue.

In order to work as a claims adjuster in the US in many states, you're required to get and maintain a license for every state you want to work in.

However, not every state requires people working claims in their state to have a license.  

But don't think that if you only want to work in one of those states that you shouldn't get your adjuster license.

Having a license will benefit you in a couple of key ways:

  1. you'll get some pretty deep policy knowledge, understanding of insurance history, and essential concepts by studying for and taking the licensing exam as well as the continuing education courses you'll need to take to keep your license current.

  2. most IA firms will only hire licensed adjusters, even if you're content to work only in one state. Firms recognize the valuable foundational knowledge that you gain from getting at least one adjuster license.

Okay, but which license to get first?

If you live in a state that licenses adjusters, you MUST get that state license FIRST.  You can't decide that you don't want to get your home state license and that you only want to work in Texas so you'll get the Texas license instead. 

Doesn't work that way.

Again, if your state licenses adjusters, that's the license you must get first.  That's your home state license.

Okay, well, what if you live in a state that doesn't have a licensing requirement, like Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, N and S Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois (can you believe that one?), and a handful of other ones??

Then if you want to get an adjuster license, you can basically pick any other state license you want and that will be what's called your Designated Home State license, or DHS.  

Any other one you want?  Yep.

However, it's not quite as simple as that.  If you want to have the most options for getting other licenses, you'll want to get a DHS that's reciprocal by the most other states AND is relatively easy to get.  

See, the cool thing is this:  if you get a Texas license or an Indiana license, those two licenses are reciprocal with most of the other states where you might want to work - what are those states?  I'll go through those states in depth in another video..  

And, Texas and Indiana are reciprocal with each other.  

You keep saying "reciprocal" Matt what does that even mean anyway? 

Reciprocity - Does that mean that if you have Indiana as your DHS and you want to work in Texas that you can just go work in Texas and Texas will recognize and honor your Indiana adjuster license?

Man, I sure wish it worked that way.

But no... The way reciprocity works is that the Texas department of insurance will recognize and honor Indiana's EXAM and possibly their background check.  You still have to apply for a Texas license and pay their fee and all that jazz.  But since you took and passed the Indiana exam and have your Indiana license, you don't have to take Texas's exam, too.

Make sense?

Okay, so you have to take an exam as part of the application process for getting your adjuster license. 

With any state that has a licensing requirement, you can just show up and take their test directly from them as part of the application process.

But if you're smart - and I know you are - you'll prepare yourself for this test by studying your rearend off.  I've taken a lot of insurance testing in my career and none of it has ever been easy.  

Insurance is archaic, confusing, and has a ton of obscure jargon that only attorneys and legislators are comfortable with - which is probably because those are the chumps who come up with most of the lingo in these policies in the first place.  But I digress.

So never under any circumstances should you try to take any adjuster license exam without extensive preparation.

Are there companies who can help you with exam prep?  Yep.  Pay what they charge because it's absolutely worth it. 

There are no guarantees, of course, but if you study hard you'll do fine. 

So how does this work?

Well, there are two ways you can do this.

Number one you can take exam prep.  You might be able to get a book with a bunch of exam questions on it that you can study.  Or take an in-person or online course that will walk you through all of the concepts and give you a practice exam with similar questions from the real test that you can take as many times as you like until you comfortably pass BEFORE taking the for-real state licensing exam.  

There is exam prep available for every state that has a licensing requirement.

The other way you can do it is this with what's called "pre-licensing." 

What's different about pre-licensing?  Well, you'll take the same study course, either online or in person, but instead of having to take your exam from the state, you can take the actual real exam through the company that you bought the pre-licensing from.  And the state that allows this will honor that exam.

The big drawback to this is that there are only a handful of states that allow pre-licensing.  There are, I think, around seven at the time of this video. 

The good news is that we don't really care about that.


Well, for almost all of your licenses, you'll only need to take ONE exam.  

Let's walk through this...

Here's how this works if your state doesn't have a licensing requirement:

Even though you can pick just about any other state to get your DHS in, you're gonna choose INDIANA as your DHS.

Why?  I thought everybody got their Texas license first.

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Well, that's the way it used to be until a few years ago when Indiana began licensing adjusters.

Three things make Indiana the preferable DHS license to get:

  1. they have the fastest turnaround time in processing your application once you've passed the test. Some report having their Indiana license in hand within a WEEK OR TWO from when they sent in their application packet.

  2. they are reciprocal with almost every state that Texas is - which is most of them and all that really matter to you as a cat adjuster.

  3. Indiana is one of the few states that allows pre-licensing.

Now to be fair, Texas and Florida are also reciprocal with most states AND allow pre-licensing.  But even now I'm hearing about several weeks up to a few months or more wait time for a Texas license.  Who knows on a Florida license?  You want to get Florida, for sure and if you don't get it as your DHS, it should be one of your top three first licenses.  Anyway..

You can certainly get started with your Texas license first if you're not in any kind of a hurry, but if storm season is starting or there's a major tropical disturbance and you need to get licensed quickly, Indiana is the way to go at the time this video is released.

Okay, now that you've got your Indiana license, what now?  All you have to do is go to, create a profile, and from there you can apply to as many state licenses as you want that are reciprocal with your new home state or DHS license.  It's really that simple.

So no, before you ask, you don't have to pay for pre-licensing or exam prep for EVERY single license that you get.

You only need to get the one to start.

Or, if you live in a state like California or New York that is not reciprocal with anybody, you'll have to get that license THEN get your Indiana license THEN simply apply for the rest of your licenses.  

Don't forget:  you can't really forge ahead into your new career as an independent adjuster without your adjuster license.

AdjusterTV is proud to partner with AdjusterPro, who brings you exclusive pre-licensing for several states that you can get nowhere else.

Question of the Day 

If you've gotten an adjuster license recently, how long did it take?  If you got a state license other than Indiana or Florida that took less than a month to get after you applied, please let us know in the comments!

APPLY for your reciprocal licenses at

Want to know how to get started as an independent adjuster? Watch the video below..


Mathew Allen

I teach new catastrophe adjusters how to get started in the business.  I also build my own websites and sites for friends (who sometimes pay me).  In addition, I film and produce personal adventure videos for hunting and fishing clients.