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How do I get a license to sell insurance?

Insurance agents write insurance policies for consumers, most commonly life insurance and automobile insurance policies.

While the earnings of insurance agents will vary greatly depending on the products they sell, one can generally expect to earn a decent living selling insurance.

Each state has a Department of Insurance that carefully regulates the insurance industry, including the licensing of new agents. Learn more about getting your license to sell insurance.

Determine what kind of insurance you want to sell. Each state has different licensing requirements for each type of insurance. The most common insurance licenses are: property and casualty (includes auto and homeowners) and life, health and accident. Many agents choose to become licensed in every major field.

Check with your state's Department of Insurance for specific agent licensing guidelines. Although general requirements exist, each state has specific guidelines. Most states require you to complete a state-approved pre-licensing class taught by a licensed insurance instructor. The classroom hours range from 16 to 32 hours per license.

Register for your state-approved pre-licensing course. Once you have completed the course, take at least a few weeks to prepare for the state insurance exam; you will need to learn and memorise a number of important laws and regulations. Testing schedules will vary from state-to-state, but are generally offered several times per year. Many states use a testing-centre such as Thomsen-Prometric, but contact your Department of Insurance to get exact instructions.

Submit your application to your Department of Insurance once you have passed the test. Most state departments have the needed forms available for download on their website, along with specific instructions.

Wait for a response from the department. Once you have received a response, you will need to find a sponsor (employer) to receive your license. Submit your employer's information to the Department of Insurance to receive your license. If you choose to be an independent agent (self-employed) you will also need to obtain Errors and Omissions insurance.


Don't be discouraged if you do not pass the exam the first time. Many testers report having difficulty with the insurance exam because of the complicated regulations and laws associated with insurance.