The basic difference lies in which types of insurance you have the authority to handle claims for, although reciprocity is a big factor as well. The all-lines adjuster license includes property and casualty (P&C) for residential, commercial, automobile, farm & ranch, inland marine & ocean marine, as well as workers’ comp insurance. The P&C license covers all of the above, with the exception of workers’ comp. So to put it plainly, all-lines includes workers’ comp and P&C does not.
So which license do you need? We recommend the All-Lines adjuster license because it certifies you to handle more lines of insurance and represents the most comprehensive license available. And while you may only handle residential or auto, you won’t be restricted to doing so because of your license.
Getting an All-Lines license will also allow you to obtain the most reciprocal licenses available. States will only approve a reciprocal license for the same lines of authority you are already approved for via your home state (or DHS) license.
So, for example, if you have a Workers’ Comp license in your home state, you’ll only qualify to get Workers’ Comp reciprocal licenses as well. You won’t qualify for a P&C and/or All-Lines reciprocal license.
It’s also important to remember that not all states offer the same types of licenses. Florida doesn’t offer a P&C license for example. Many don’t offer a single LOA like workers’ comp or crop. And if the state you’re applying in doesn’t offer that lower license type, you are denied a reciprocal license completely.
You can avoid the confusion and potential denials by obtaining the All-Lines license which covers the most lines of authority and therefore, offers the most reciprocity.
For those who want a more detailed look, let’s review each type of insurance:
Residential – property used primarily for dwelling
Commercial – property used for business, recreation, worship, etc (not for dwelling)
Auto – cars, motorcycles, and covered vehicles used for non-commercial transport
Farm & Ranch – dwelling, outbuildings, barns, animals, equipment, crops in storage (crops in the field typically require separate crop insurance)
Inland Marine – commercial trucks in transit and their cargo; docks, piers, bridges
Ocean Marine – sea vessels and their cargo (the first type of insurance as we know it today)
Workers’ Comp – employees injured while on the job