It all started in 2012 when the economy tank finally hit the construction business in small-town Stephenville, Texas. My parents didn’t know how they were going to support our big family—they had four kids and one on the way. Trying to find a new, secure career choice, my stepdad decided to take the advice of a family friend and become an insurance adjuster. Little did we know this decision would change all our lives completely.
Most people don’t know what an insurance adjuster is until they need one. An insurance adjuster is the person who inspects damaged property and reports their findings to the insurance carrier. While others pray for storms to turn or dissolve, my family prays for them to hit hard.
What even fewer people know about is what life looks like for the family of insurance adjusters–especially when they bring you along. I spent four years of my life on the road with an insurance adjuster consistently and the last four watching him from the sidelines. This is my story.
The biggest change to my life happened the summer before sixth grade. After becoming a licensed insurance adjuster, my stepdad went to work quickly. My mother couldn’t handle having our family separated for weeks on end; so she and my stepdad made the decision to sell our house and belongings, pull my younger sister and me from public school, and travel as a family in a 38-foot travel trailer.
Our house was put on the market in July 2012 and was sold Aug. 25, the day my youngest brother was born. A week later we were moved into the RV on our way to our first storm. We were all-in; there was no turning back.
Living in an RV was not something I thought I would ever do. But it became my life for four years. The longest we were ever in the same place was two months. Normally, we were only parked for a few weeks, sometimes less.
Travel and fun
Though we would usually jump city to city or state to state while working a specific storm then return home to Texas, there were many cross-country trips. The most memorable cross-country trip we made was the fall of 2012. My stepdad had finished all his claims in New York after Hurricane Sandy, so we returned to Texas to spend Thanksgiving with our family. Within moments of being home, my stepdad got deployed to a windstorm in California, and we left three days later. The entire trip, from New York to Texas to California, took place within a week.
Time spent in the car became second nature. If we weren’t in the car driving to the next storm, we were accompanying my stepdad on his drive to the claims he had scheduled for the day. It was fascinating to see different sceneries out the window every day.
Field trips also became a regular occurrence. Any time we were near a historical site or a culturally different area, my mother would teach us all there was to know about each place. When my stepdad had a day off, my parents would take us to those significant places to tour. On one deployment in Pennsylvania, we got to visit Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Ben Franklin Museum on the Fourth of July.
How life has changed
Though we were never in the same place or had the same schedule during each deployment, the routine was always the same—get the call, pack our stuff, leave, work, and repeat the process over again. This cycle continued for four years until my junior year of high school.
Now we live in a house, I go to college, my sister does dual credit, my three younger siblings have continued homeschooling, my parents started two adjusting-related businesses and we rarely go with my stepdad during a deployment.
What I have learned
Time on the road taught me a lot. I learned to cherish my family, the history of the United States, the different cultures across the county and what makes each state special and unique.
The four years of my life spent traveling the United States will be a time I never forget. If I had the choice to hit the redo button, I wouldn’t change a thing. Life as the daughter of an insurance adjuster and the constant traveling shaped me into the person I am today. It has presented so many amazing opportunities I never would have had otherwise and has gotten me to where I am now.
Becoming an insurance adjuster and bringing your family along isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a lot that will need to take place in order for you to succeed. However, I would highly encourage any family considering making the switch to bring their family along. See where life takes you and what memories you create.
Though my family and I love living in a permanent home, we miss traveling. If we were given the opportunity to go with my stepdad again, my siblings and I agree we would gladly return to the gypsy lifestyle.