This article is written for folks wanting to sell insurance, needing direction on studying and applying for an insurance license, and aren’t quite sure where to start.
Even if you’re completely clueless on what to do, no worries!
In a few quick minutes, you’ll learn how to prepare for and what to expect on the insurance license exam.
NOTE: Are you an aspiring or new insurance agent looking for more insight on how the insurance sales industry works? Check out my free New Insurance Agent Resource Guide to help answer many of your questions (as well as ones you didn’t know you had!).
Step 1: Basics On Getting Started
Each individual state regulates insurance law and licensing for new insurance agents.
And with each state operating according to its own rules, you’ll need to use Google to research your state’s insurance licensing requirements.
Thankfully, this is simple.
All you need to do is Google-search:
how to get licensed for insurance in [your state]
filling in [your state] with where you live.
After searching, you’ll find the appropriate state-based web page explaining the process of preparing, testing, and applying for an insurance license.
Step 2: Complete A Pre-Licensing Course
Most states require you to pass a pre-licensing course prior to taking the official insurance exam.
While some pre-licensing courses have in-person classroom learning options, most agents opt for the internet-based home study version.
Cost for pre-licensing ranges between $50 to $200, depending on the vendor and state you’re testing in.
Here’s a list of the most popular insurance pre-licensing study courses available in most states:
My experience with pre-licensing courses is that they’re pretty much all the same, and around the same price range.
I took pre-licensing with ExamFX when testing for my life insurance license in 2011, and can say their educational materials helped me pass the exam.
How Much Time To Study?
I’ve seen motivated people complete pre-licensing requirements in less than a week.
On average, most people study 2 to 3 weeks prior to completing pre-licensing before scheduling the exam.
After completing pre-licensing, you’re ready to take your state’s insurance license exam.
Step 3: Take The Insurance Exam
You’ll need to contact your state’s testing provider and schedule a testing date.
Refer to your state’s Department Of Insurance (DOI) directions for a list of preferred vendors.
In many states, Pearson VUE administers insurance exams. Research their website to see if that’s the case in your state.
Most insurance exams consist of 50 to 100 questions with a multi-hour time limit. Most states want a score of 70 or better to get your insurance license.
What Kind Of Questions Are On The Exam?
Exam questions are based on the study material you completed.
It’s very rare you’ll run across material not covered in the pre-licensing study material.
Prior to the exam, continue to study according to your pre-licensing material.
What Happens After I Pass The Exam?
Once you pass the insurance exam, you can apply for your insurance license.
Expect the state to conduct a background check. This consists of a criminal history check and fingerprinting.
Remember, selling insurance is a privilege, not a right, so your state’s Department Of Insurance has ultimate say on whether or not you get a license.
With that said, refer to your state’s Department Of Insurance website for directions on how to apply for your license and whether or not you need to get fingerprints.
Do I Ever Have To Take Another Insurance Exam Again?
Once you pass the exam, you never need to test for the line of authority (life, health, property and casualty, etc) again.
However, if you want to add additional licensing, you will have to repeat the same pre-licensing and exam process laid out earlier.
For example, if you acquired your life insurance license and want to sell health insurance, you’ll have to study and test for the health insurance license prior to offering any form of health insurance to your prospects.
How Does Continuing Education Work?
Every 2 years, your state requires 24 hours worth of continuing education completed, prior to renewing your insurance license.
Thankfully, all state DOIs allow online-based continuing education course work that you complete at your own pace.
Here’s a list of different online-based continuing education vendors available in most states:
When I need to complete continuing education, I use WebCE.
It’s super simple to set up and relatively affordable to purchase.
What If I Want To Sell In A State I Don’t Live In?
All states recognize and reciprocate each other’s licensed insurance agents, allowing non-residents to license to sell insurance.
Once your home state licenses are complete, you pay your non-resident licensing fee in the states you want to apply in.
In most cases, your approved to sell in those states within a few days.
National Producer Insurance Registry is the best place to start for non-resident insurance license applications.
Got Any Other Questions?
I’m always happy to help =).
NOTE: Once you’ve passed your licensing test, make sure to read my article on what to do next in starting your insurance career.