How to get an Insurance License- The First Step to become an Insurance Agent

Want to be an insurance agent but do not know where to start? Learn how to get your insurance license and start your career as an agent or even run your agency!

Perhaps your current job isn’t doing it for you. Or you’re a high school graduate looking for better prospects. You might even be someone looking for a better work-life balance. You’ve heard that your neighbor next door is an insurance agent. You discover that their agency is quite profitable. You decide to become an insurance agent as well. After all, U.S. News does rank Insurance Sales Agents as one of the highest paying jobs in the U.S without a degree. You realize that you need an insurance license first. So, where do you start? 

In this blog, we’ll guide you throughout the entire process of obtaining your insurance license in simple steps. For people looking to start a career in insurance, and for those planning to change their career, this blog will cover all your questions. In the end, we will also give you some bonus tips on how you can kickstart your insurance career. 

Step 1: Find your Area of Specialization- Decide what line you want to sell

Before diving into insurance, you need to know different areas of insurance lines. Known as ‘lines of authority,’ these are the areas where you will specialize as an agent and sell your products. Here are some of the most common lines of insurance:

  • Property and Casualty Insurance: Series of policies covered for personal/commercially owned properties and the liabilities to the third party that is caused by them. It includes homeowners, auto, renters, condo, flood, and earthquake insurance coverages. You can narrow down your area of specialization and consider which line of property and casualty insurance would be worth tapping into.  
  • Life Insurance: Policies and annuities to cover the beneficiary in case of the insured’s death.
  • Health Insurance: Coverage that ensures the cost of an individual’s medical and surgical bills.

It’s not compulsory to only select one area. You can combine these lines and specialize in them according to your interests and skills.

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Step 2: Check the requirements and build your understanding!

There are some basic requirements that you need to meet before you apply for your insurance license exam. After deciding on the market that you want to sell in, you need to check if you’re eligible to apply.  

Most of the applicants are confused about this stage. But don’t worry! It is not as complicated as you think.

Before moving on, you need to know that every state has a commission of insurance that facilitates the mandates. You can check out the list of all 50 state insurance boards on the ACLI website.

Here are some of the things you should complete before applying for your insurance license.

Complete the prelicensing education for the line of authority you selected. 

Most states require applicants to complete a pre-license coursework before registering for state licensing exams.  

The hours and the cost for the course may differ according to the state. For example- In Georgia, you need to take 20 hours of prelicensing course for each line of authority. For you to obtain a P&C license, you’ll have to take 40 hours long courses. 

Similarly, in California, along with the 20 hours education course, applicants should also receive an additional 12 hours of education for the state’s insurance codes and ethical policies. 

Tip: Applicants should always follow-up with their state’s insurance board. You need to make sure you fulfill every requirement.  

After the completion of this course, you will receive a certificate. Hold on to it; you’ll be needing it at the time of your exam.  

Step 3: Register for the State examinations (and ace it)

Now it all comes to testing your knowledge. You need to give exams for every line of authority you’ve selected. For instance, if you pass the exams for Property and Casualty, you’ll be able to sell products in both areas. In most states, Property and Casualty are usually combined lines. In other words, you can give a single exam to get a P&C insurance license.

The National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) has listed down all the state-specific requirements and fees for you to check out.

Also, you can live in one State and might want to sell policies in a different State. In that case, all you need to do is apply your insurance license for the insurance board of the state you want to sell policies in and continue this process! 

You can check out various guides for state exam preparations on the internet too. You will need to score 70% or higher to pass. So, make sure you take a few practice exams like Kaplan offers before you take the real one!  

Now you can register for the exam by sending an application which you can find on the state insurance department’s website.

Some important tips to remember before giving the actual exams:

  • Be thoroughly prepared. The test will be in a controlled environment. Make sure you rely on your knowledge.
  • Be calm and confident. Remember that these exams sure are challenging, but they’re not impossible.
  • Study for one exam at a time. You don’t want to stress yourself with two different tests and ruin both. Focus on one and ace it!  

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Step 4: Apply for your Insurance License- submit your background check documents and your biometrics 

Almost all the state requires applicants to provide their fingerprints, a background information report, and work-history report. You need to submit all these documents to the concerned state insurance department before you apply for your insurance license.  

As with any background check, the process will be more difficult if you have a criminal record. Having severe criminal cases will decrease the chances of them selecting your application.  

Hold on to the fingerprint card, which you’ll be needing to apply for your insurance license.  

After you submitted all these reports, you can now apply for the license. Generally, you can upload all the documents in the state insurance department’s website. These documents include the state exam certificate, fingerprint card, background report, and a citizen affidavit.  

The state insurance board will review your application and your documents. If all submissions are acceptable, you will get your insurance license within 7-10 business days!  

In case you don’t meet specific requirements, or you must clarify anything, you will need to contact the state insurance department regarding the status of your license.  

You’ve got your Insurance License. Now what?  

By following these steps, you can obtain your Insurance License. You can finally work as an insurance agent and start selling policies!  

It would help if you now decided whether you want to be a captive agent or an independent agentCaptive agents can work with only one insurance carrier, while independent agents can work with several and even form agency clustersWe want all our fellow agents to be free and explore endless opportunities. How? Being an independent agent is the best way to go!  

You can also work for an insurance agency to become fully independent and make full use of all the benefits you get by working for an agency. You always have the option to use your insurance agency license to suit your needs.  

Being an insurance agent isn’t the only career option if you’re interested in working in the insurance industry. Working as an insurance broker is also another great option. But before exploring how to become an insurance broker, you need to understand that agents and brokers play very different roles. Try to understand these differences before choosing your path! 

Did you think we missed out on anything? Let us know with your thoughts in the comments below!  


Learn how you can flourish as an agent after one call!

Schedule a call right now and learn how you can ease your work, sell more, and increase your profits!


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