Adjusters are on the road for days or weeks at a time, so you'll have to carry everything you need—ladders, boots, probing and measuring tools, work clothes for every season, and accessories, such as gloves, that work whether it's very hot or very cold. You'll also need a toolbox for storing and transporting everything in your car (below, left), as well as a lightweight toolbelt to hold essential tools while estimating and clambering on roofs. I set up a simple mobile office in my car—with a laptop desk, as well as power inverters to plug in laptops and printers—and a complete office in my hotel room, including a portable scanner and printer, cables, extension cords, and general office supplies. I pack a jump rope too; you spend a lot of time in the car and need to get a little exercise now and then.

Here's my list of "must have" tools for insurance adjustment work, along with the approximate cost of each. Assuming you already have a vehicle but need everything else, this startup kit will cost you about $4,000.

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