What Does a Car Assessor Do? (Plus Required Qualifications)

Updated 16 March 2023

After receiving an insurance claim because of vehicle damage, an insurer usually arranges for a motor vehicle assessor to inspect the vehicle. The assessor ultimately determines the extent of sustained damages and communicates this information to the insurer and sometimes even the vehicle owner. If you're interested in insurance, mechanics or customer service, a career as a car assessor may be worth investigating. In this article, we discuss what a car assessor does, outline how to become one, describe their typical working conditions, provide an average salary and explore some related jobs.

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What does a car assessor do?

To understand the answer to ‘What does a car assessor do?’ it can be helpful to first learn that car assessors work in the field of automotive insurance. The overall aim of a car assessor, also known as a claims assessor or claims adjuster, is to inspect all internal and external elements of a car that sustained damage. They do this methodically and with a high level of accuracy to determine the required repairs and whether they're economically feasible. Where the damage exceeds the value of the vehicle, a car damage assessor may deem the vehicle a write-off.

A large part of a car assessor's role is liaising with insurance companies, vehicle owners and drivers of vehicles that have been in accidents.

Motor assessing duties

Below, you can find a detailed list of the duties of an employed or independent car assessor:

  • Examining damaged motor vehicles

  • Identifying and recording accidental vehicle damage

  • Identifying and recording non-accidental vehicle damage

  • Using a range of digital technologies to record vehicle impairment

  • Documenting the details of damaged motor vehicles, such as their year, make, model, mileage and any customisations

  • Analysing the condition of damaged vehicles' safety systems, for example, headlights, seatbelts, airbags, brakes and tyres

  • Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of automobile-related health and safety legislation and industry repair methods

  • Assessing damages that require repair and damages that require replacing

  • Applying estimation software

  • Determining approximate timeframes and costs for required repairs

  • Discussing sustained damage and required repairs with various others, such as insurers, team members, supervisors and car owners

  • Handling concerns with evidence-based inference

  • Using automotive industry market guidelines to assess the current value of vehicles

  • Obtaining customer approval to proceed with any quoted works

How to become a motor vehicle assessor

There's no formal requirement for you to complete tertiary education to become a motor vehicle assessor. However, it is often beneficial to understand that while tertiary education isn't a requirement, it can enhance your resume, which can be helpful when applying for car assessor jobs.

Below, you can find an example of a general pathway you can consider for obtaining work in this role:

1. Finish high school

Completing years 11 and 12 of high school can often be a good start for this career path. Achieving a high school certificate is a common prerequisite for tertiary education. Maths, English and science can be great subjects to consider for gaining the fundamental knowledge required to get employment and excel in the position of an assessor.

2. Complete tertiary study in a related field

Next, you may consider tertiary studies in a related field. You can study for a certificate, diploma or degree. Gaining a qualification usually provides you with extensive technical skills to complete your duties as a car insurance assessor with proficiency. It can also enhance your employment opportunities, as hiring managers may perceive your dedication to the industry favourably. A popular choice among budding car assessors is a Certificate IV in Vehicle Loss Assessing. A Bachelor of Business or a Bachelor of Engineering can also be beneficial education choices for working in this area.

Related: What Does an Insurance Assessor Do? (With Skills and Duties)

3. Seek an entry-level assessor role

Once qualified or potentially while you're qualifying, you can consider gaining an entry-level role. An entry-level job in this field may be a junior assessor. This role involves many of the same duties as a senior assessor. The major difference is that juniors generally conduct their duties under supervision, rather than independently. Sometimes, junior assessors may work independently on low-risk claims.

4. Consider an accreditation

Even when not required, gaining membership or accreditation can boost your employability. If you wish to work in the automotive insurance industry, there are several accreditations to consider. These include a Charter Loss Adjustor or Insurance Claims Assessor accreditation from the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) and the Australian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjustors (AICLA). Requirements and preferences for licensing and accreditation can vary from state to state, so it's a good idea to check the specifics of your location before deciding.

5. Apply for a position as a car assessor

The last step is to apply for a role as a car assessor or register a business as an independent car assessor and begin marketing your services. If you currently work as a junior assessor, you may wish to seek a promotion within your current organisation. Alternatively, you can apply for senior roles as an assessor elsewhere. Before applying, ensure your resume is up to date with your qualifications, skills and work experience. The Indeed Job Board can be an excellent place to look for an assessor's role.

Related: Top 14 Careers in Electric Vehicles (With Salaries)

Vehicle damage assessor working conditions

Vehicle damage assessors usually work full-time or part-time and during standard working hours. Assessors work alone when assessing vehicles but then collaborate and liaise with other parties to complete the damage claim. Vehicle assessors commonly work between a head office and various sites, including assessment centres and vehicle owners' homes. Using modern technology, there may be instances where they can work remotely. As automotive health and safety legislation changes frequently, assessor roles usually come with ongoing on-the-job training and continuous development opportunities.

Related: What Is On-the-Job Training?

How much does a car insurance assessor earn?

The national average salary for a car claims adjuster is $66,489 per year. This salary can vary based on your qualifications, level of experience and the state or city in which you work. Those with tertiary qualifications and several years of experience working with high-risk claims are likely to earn more than those entering the profession.

4 related jobs

If the role of a car assessor appeals to you, you may find some of these related jobs interesting:

1. Claims specialist

National average salary: $77,573 per year

Primary duties: After the submission of an insurance claim, it's the role of a claims specialist to review them carefully to ensure adherence to the correct filing and processing procedures. Claims specialists often assist claims assessors with claims that are complex or out of the ordinary. It's common for these specialists to work within health insurance, where they analyse factors such as typical treatments for diagnoses, duration of hospital stays and expected downtime post-treatment. Some claims specialists are also responsible for approving claims, rejecting claims and sending them to other parties for further investigation.

2. Claims manager

National average salary: $88,845 per year

Primary duties: A claims manager handles a claims department, which normally comprises a team of administration employees, claims specialists and claims assessors. These managers oversee the claims team and their processes for claims for losses or damages. An important part of their role is to ensure that the handling of claims aligns with company policy and insurance claims best practices. It's not unusual for claims managers to take part in general business management meetings and have the power and capacity to make decisions and resolve interdepartmental conflicts.

Related: What Is Conflict Management? The Ultimate Guide

3. Insurance broker

National average salary: $69,091 per year

Primary duties: An insurance broker connects insurance companies to customers and vice versa. They essentially act as an intermediary, helping individuals and companies find the most suitable insurance policy. They do this by combining their in-depth understanding of insurance by conducting risk reviews, finance assessments and negotiations. Insurance brokers also advise their clients on how and when to submit an insurance claim or update their policies. Brokers typically spend a lot of their time in meetings with clients or potential customers, understanding and discussing their specific insurance requirements.

Related: How to Become a Finance Broker

4. Panel beater

National average salary: $70,775 per year

Primary duties: Like a car assessor, a panel beater assesses vehicle damage. A panel beater examines the exterior of a motor vehicle to determine the extent of the damage and the required repairs. Unlike a car assessor, a panel beater then performs the repairs themselves, usually at a car workshop, repair centre or a personal workshop if self-employed. Panel beaters have a diverse range of duties, which also include preparing and completing cost and timeframe estimates, organising work schedules and communicating with customers throughout the process.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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