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You're on your way to becoming an independent insurance agent. But first, you must get a license. Fortunately, getting a license can be fairly simple. Where will you be selling insurance? Each state has its own requirements.
Below are the steps you should take, how to find requirements for your state, types of licenses and more.
Why agents need a license and how often it gets updated
All states require insurance agents to obtain (and maintain) a license before they can open up shop and sell insurance to families or businesses. State regulators understand that insurance is an important financial protection tool for consumers. Thus, agents need to provide solid advice and appropriate policies.
Understand which types of licenses you'll need to operate your independent agency before you get too far in the planning process. Without the proper licenses, you might not be able to sell insurance to families or business clients.
Note, too, that you must complete continuing education courses to keep your license, typically every two years. Check with your state on its requirements.
Types of licenses
Note that the type of insurance license you're applying for may have slightly different requirements. Your state's regulations, too, can vary. You might choose to sell personal insurance, business insurance, life or health. And maybe you want to provide more than one type of insurance.
Getting a license
Here are the basic steps to getting your insurance license. Depending on where you operate your business, the process might be a little different:
- Complete an insurance pre-licensing course, which typically can be done online
- Pass the insurance exam
- Apply for the insurance license by filling out an online form for your state and pay the fee
- Complete a background check, and get fingerprinted
- Maintain your insurance license by satisfying the continuing education, or CE, requirements
States set guidelines on how often you need to renew your license. Generally, it's every two years.
Here's a map of where to go for more information about licensing requirements at the Big “I" state associations' websites. Just click on your state to get started. Go on the homepage, check the Education heading and then click on the licensing tab.
Click on a state from the map below to visit the state association Website.