Cover - Can you get an insurance license with a misdemeanor, felony, DUI, bad credit, or tax lien?

Can you get an insurance license with a misdemeanor, felony, DUI, bad credit, or tax lien?

By David Duford - January 03, 2023 - 5 Mins Read

Do you have a potential issue with your background or record? Wondering if you are eligible to get your insurance license?

In this article, I discuss how you may be able to get your insurance license with a potential issue with your background or record.

Let’s begin!

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How Licensing Works


In the life insurance field, nothing is more important than honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. As an insurance agent, you will work with your clients on matters involving their finances. It goes without saying that they must be able to fully trust you.

When you apply for an insurance license, you have to meet your state’s licensing regulations. Each state has its own insurance agent licensing requirements, which can include background checks to verify if applicants are of good character and/or fingerprinting.

Currently, 25 states require fingerprints as part of the background check. This involves running your fingerprints through the FBI Criminal Database to check if you have any past or present felony convictions.

Most other states and the District of Columbia require identification and/or background checks for the past seven years.

You can find out more about your state’s insurance licensing requirements on the FindLaw website.

Getting an insurance license with a misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a minor offense that is less serious than a felony. It can be anything from a simple assault to shoplifting, trespassing, disorderly conduct, and other lesser criminal acts. Misdemeanors usually involve jail time, smaller fines, and temporary punishments.

In most cases, you can get an insurance license with a misdemeanor. However, certain misdemeanors require you to wait for a disqualifying period before you can apply for licensure.

A seven-year disqualifying period must be met for any misdemeanors that are directly related to the financial services business in some states, while others may be more forgiving.

Ultimately, call your state’s Department of Insurance for guidance on the likelihood of getting an insurance license with a misdemeanor.

Getting an insurance license with a felony

Felonies are serious crimes such as murder, rape, burglary, kidnapping, and arson that result in fines and long jail or prison sentences.

Whether an agent can get licensure depends on the type of felony. Some applicants are completely disqualified from getting an insurance license, while others may be able to apply after a specific waiting period has elapsed.

Applicants who have committed a felony of the first degree, a capital felony, a felony involving money laundering, fraud, or embezzlement, or a felony directly related to the financial services business are most likely not eligible to apply for an insurance license.

For all other felonies, there is a mandatory waiting period before applying for a license.

For felonies involving crimes of moral turpitude that are not specifically included in permanent bars, there is a fifteen-year disqualification. For other felonies, for which neither the permanent bar nor 15-year disqualification applies, there is a seven-year disqualification period.

After the disqualification period, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have been rehabilitated, that they don’t represent a risk to the customers, and that they are trustworthy enough to work in the insurance business.

Again, call your state’s Department Of Insurance for accurate guidance on getting a license with a felony.

Getting an insurance license with a DUI

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a criminal conviction that can have serious consequences for your professional life. Whether you can get an insurance license with a DUI depends on how the offense is classified: as a misdemeanor or felony.

In most cases, a first-time conviction for driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor, although sometimes it can also be charged as a felony crime. An often-repeated DUI is always considered a felony. The specific conditions and classifications of DUI vary from state to state.

If you receive a misdemeanor DUI conviction, you will probably be able to get an insurance license. I’ve recruited many agents with DUI convictions in the history. However, if you have a felony conviction, it may be more difficult and the process may include long disqualification periods.

Getting an insurance license with a bad credit

Getting approved as an insurance agent if you have a bad credit score is not impossible. However, you need to keep in mind that most insurance agencies are very selective about their review process.

Before signing the contract, they will ask you about any outstanding debts and bankruptcies, as well as current and past foreclosures.

What’s more, many agencies offer advance commissions or a loan against your future earnings if you qualify based on credit. They need to be sure that you will be able to pay the loan back if your clients cancel their policy.

Bottom line, while most applicants will be able to get an insurance license with bad credit, they may have difficulty getting appointed with the insurance carriers.

Ultimately, that depends on what’s on your credit, and will vary between each insurance carrier, as some are more flexible on bad credit than others.

Tax Lien

A tax lien is a claim the government makes on your property when you’re past due on your income taxes. Failure to take care of a federal tax lien may result in a tax levy, that is, seizure of property to pay the taxes you owe.

Your state may prevent you from obtaining an insurance license if you haven’t paid your tax debt off or if you haven’t made any payment arrangements.

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