Do You Have to Have a License to Sell Insurance?

Do You Have to Have a License to Sell Insurance?

Insurance agents serve the public by providing insurance coverage for our families, homes, and property. Insurance can get complicated at times, so many of us rely on our insurance agents to help with the process. Because of this relationship, states require insurance agents to become licensed before selling insurance to protect consumers, agents, and insurance carriers.

Insurance agents must be licensed by the state(s) in which they sell and for the specific insurance product(s) they sell, and each state has different licensing requirements. State governments regulate the insurance industry primarily to protect American consumers,1 which can make the process of buying life insurance much more comfortable.

A licensed professional life insurance agent can:

  • Do a personal assessment of your family’s needs and financial goals
  • Help you navigate the choices for your family
  • Help you anticipate your family’s changing needs at different stages in life
  • Address any misinformation or concerns you may have about life insurance
  • Help you fit the life insurance coverage you need with your budget

Why do I need a license?

The insurance industry is regulated by the state(s) you work in. Your license represents your basic knowledge of products and regulations, which helps those you serve trust in your ability to help protect their family.
State licensure also protects consumers by allowing the state to track agent activities. 

How do I become an insurance agent?

You don’t need a college degree to become an insurance agent, just your high school diploma or equivalent.1 However, states do require insurance agents to be licensed. The licensing requirements vary by state, but let’s look into the general requirements. 

  • Not all, but some states require a prelicensing education. The number of hours you’ll have to complete and the cost vary by state, so you’ll want to research the requirements for the state you’re looking to sell in. 
  • Pass the state insurance licensing exam for life insurance or life and health insurance.
  • Pass a background check. The process varies by state and, in some cases, includes fingerprinting. 

You may need multiple licenses if you plan on selling multiple types of insurance products. If you move or if you plan to sell in multiple states, you will need to fulfill the licensing requirements for each state and insurance product.


  1. NAIC, State Insurance Regulation (August 27, 2020)