License Requirements

How to get an insurance license

While each state determines its licensing requirements, there are four general steps to obtaining your insurance license.

General Requirements

Applicants must be:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • A resident in the state in which you are attaining your insurance license;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien who possesses a work authorization from the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Unresolved criminal offenses may prevent an applicant from attaining his or her insurance license. If you have any questions regarding disqualifying criminal offenses, we recommend contacting your state's Department of Insurance to review your case.

Review your state's requirements

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Step 1: Complete a pre-licensing insurance course

Many states require you to complete a pre-licensing insurance course to qualify for the state insurance exam. Pre-licensing insurance courses teach you the fundamental insurance concepts, state insurance laws, and agent regulations found on the licensing exam.

Not all states are the same though, and it's important to understand what your state requires of you. For instance, to obtain a Florida insurance license or a California insurance license, applicants must complete a state-certified pre-licensing course. To obtain a Texas insurance license, applicants are not required to complete a pre-licensing course. If you live in a state like Texas, it's still recommended that you complete a pre-licensing course to prepare you for your exam.

Examples of state pre-licensing credit hour requirements:

  • Life insurance license: 20-40 credit hours
  • Health insurance license: 20-40 credit hours
  • Life & health insurance license: 40-52 credit hours

Helpful Tip
You can be licensed in multiple states! After you obtain your resident license, which is the initial license you are trying to obtain right now, you can apply for a non-resident license in any other state(s) without needing to complete any additional coursework or testing.

Step 2: Pass the state insurance license exam

Upon completing your pre-licensing course, you will schedule to take the state licensing exam. The exam is administered at test centers throughout the state, but many states also allow you to take it online.

The exam format is multiple-choice, timed based on the number of questions in the exam, and typically has a minimum passing score of between 60% and 70%. You will receive a printout informing you if you passed or failed the test immediately after completing it.

Helpful Tip
Many states limit the number of times you can sit for the exam within a specific period. Therefore, understanding of the concepts covered in your pre-licensing insurance course is essential to passing it on your first attempt.

Step 3: Submit electronic fingerprints

Nearly all states require applicants to submit electronic fingerprints to run a criminal background check. The background check determines whether the applicant has a significant criminal offense that may disqualify them from being issued a license based on that state's insurance laws.

Applicants convicted of a first-degree felony, especially a felony directly related to the financial services business, will likely not be eligible to obtain an insurance license. However, an applicant convicted of a lesser felony or a misdemeanor can qualify for a license upon completing conditions related to their offense.

Helpful Tip
If you think you may not be eligible to obtain an insurance license due to a background issue, we recommend contacting your state's Department of Insurance prior to starting the process of obtaining an insurance license.

Step 4: Complete an insurance license application

After passing the state licensing exam and submitting electronic fingerprints, you will complete an application for your insurance license. The application is typically completed online and submitted electronically to the Department of Insurance or its third-party processor.

Once the Department of Insurance receives notifications of completion for each of these pre-licensing steps, it issues the applicant an insurance license. The title of each state's license for a specified line of insurance (ie, health insurance license) varies from state to state; however, the line of insurance for which the license is issued is the same. This is important to recognize when applying for the same line of insurance in multiple states - you are applying for the same line of insurance, but each state will title it a little differently.

Helpful Tip
Members of the United States Armed Forces and their spouses, and veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have separated from service within 24 months before application for licensure, are exempt from the application filing fee. Contact your Department of Insurance to find out if your state participates in this program.

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