Getting your Illinois life insurance license is the first step toward becoming a life insurance agent. If you want to market and sell life insurance policies, follow this step-by-step guide for obtaining a life insurance license in Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) requires you to complete a four-step process to obtain your life insurance license — from taking the life insurance exam to applying for a license.
These steps will take a few weeks to complete so we recommend you bookmark this page so you can use it as a reference throughout the process.
How to Get Your Illinois Life Insurance License
- Complete an Illinois Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
- Take the Illinois Life Insurance Licensing Exam (Pearson VUE – $92 each for the general and state-specific sections of the exam with a total of $184)
- Complete an Illinois Life Insurance License Application (National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) – $215 application fee + $5.60 transaction fee)
- Watch for Your Application Results
Steps to Get an Illinois Life Insurance License
Obtaining your Illinois life insurance license isn’t difficult. Just follow these four steps to start your journey toward becoming a life insurance agent. Once you earn this license, check out our guide on how to get your Illinois property and casualty (P&C) license as well.
Step 1: Complete an Illinois Insurance Pre-license Course
Before you take the Illinois life insurance licensing exam, it’s important to make time to acquire the knowledge you’ll need to pass this exam on your first attempt. Completing a pre-license education course will equip you with the necessary information and tools you’ll need to prepare for your exam.
Illinois requires 20 hours of pre-license education. Illinois also requires you to take 7.5 of those 20 pre-license education hours in a classroom setting. You can complete the rest of the required hours either in person or online.
A pre-license education course provides very specific industry knowledge that will be tested during the exam. There is very little information on the test that could be considered “common sense”. Pre-license education courses are self-paced and include study materials like practice exams and flashcards.
Beyond helping you effectively prepare for and pass the life insurance licensing exam on your first try, taking a pre-license education course also will give you a solid understanding of your duties as a life insurance agent.
Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their insurance license exam(s). For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 2: Take the Illinois Life Insurance Licensing Exam
After you complete a prep course and your own independent studying, it’s time to take the Illinois life insurance exam.
Illinois uses Pearson VUE as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.
The Illinois life insurance exam outline contains a total of 81 scored questions that covers two exams: general and state-specific knowledge. The general section deals with basic life insurance product knowledge. The state-specific section covers insurance concepts and terms, rules, regulations, and practices specific to Illinois.
You’ll have 135 minutes to complete the exam. The Illinois life insurance exam fee is $92 each for the general and state-specific sections, and you must pay the $184 total at the time of reservation by credit card, debit card, or voucher. The exam is a proctored test, meaning an official proctor will closely monitor you in a controlled environment.
If you happen to fail one or both sections of the Illinois life insurance exam, you can retake the exam and pass both sections within 90 days of your first attempt.
Check out our in-depth insurance exam guide for tips to help you pass on the first attempt.
The best way to understand if you are prepared for the test is to take a Life Insurance Practice Exam.
Step 3: Complete an Illinois Life Insurance License Application
Once you pass the life insurance exam, you must wait five days after passing your exam to apply for your Illinois life insurance license. The application fee is $215, and the NIPR will charge a $5.60 transaction fee for a total of $220.60.
The IDOI will issue a life insurance license to individuals who are at least 18 years old and have passed the proper licensing exam.
Illinois now requires you to apply for your license electronically. Once you complete the application process through the NIPR, you’ll receive an email from the NIPR that confirms it submitted your application to the IDOI.
To apply for a life insurance license in Illinois, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the Illinois Insurance Code.
Send any questions or supporting documents to DOI.Licensing@illinois.gov.
Step 4: Watch for Your Application Results
After you complete the previous three steps, the IDOI will review your application. It reviews filings in the order it receives them, and this process usually takes up to three business days from the date you submit your application.
You can print your license from the NIPR website. There’s no charge to create an account or print a license. You can search and manage your license by visiting the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) State Based Systems (SBS) Lookup Search tool and selecting Illinois.
You’re now ready to get started as a life insurance agent in Illinois.
Next Steps After Securing Your Illinois Life Insurance License
Once you complete the above steps and have your Illinois life insurance license, here’s what you should pursue next.
Get Your FINRA Securities Licenses
Individuals planning to market and sell market-based life insurance products also must obtain the proper securities licenses. As a securities license holder, you can offer securities as part of your services. That’ll make you a credible authority in addressing all of your clients’ financial needs.
To learn more, check out our Securities Licensing guide.
To obtain these licenses, you’ll first need to take and pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Professionals in the securities industry are required to take the SIE and a series of examinations administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
The SIE exam ensures every life insurance professional has a basic understanding of securities. While taking the SIE exam isn’t a requirement for all insurance professionals, those who don’t obtain at least one securities license limit their ability to work with clients. With a securities license, you can give your clients the option to invest in securities-related products as part of their life insurance plans.
To help you start preparing for the SIE exam, check out our full guide on How to Pass the SIE Exam.
Obtaining a license to sell securities also requires sponsorship from a firm, company, or organization regulated by FINRA. The sponsor will pay the testing fees required for your SIE exams and submit your personal information to FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD). The Series 6 and Series 7 licenses require a FINRA exam sponsorship before you can take the exam. The exam for a Series 63 license doesn’t require any sponsoring entity.
Once you get your securities license(s), FINRA will list you as a “registered representative.” By achieving the securities licensee designation, you’ll become a highly sought-after professional and set yourself up for a successful career in the insurance industry.
Series 6, 7, and 63 Licenses
Some of the most common securities licenses for insurance agents include the Series 6, 7, and 63 licenses because they allow licensees to sell almost every type of individual security.
The Series 6 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative) Securities License is the primary license sought by insurance sales professionals and financial advisors, allowing them to sell grouped securities related to insurance products.
Series 6 works together with Series 63 because they are the two partner licenses required to sell insurance policies tied to investments. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) oversees regulation of the Series 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law) license.
The Series 7 license allows you to buy and sell securities (e.g., stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) as part of an investment plan for your clients. To get a Series 7 license, you will first need to register as a new candidate with FINRA and pass the Series 7 exam. The Series 7 exam is commonly known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Exam, but is sometimes referred to as the “Series 7 Top-Off Exam.”
Get a Job in the Insurance Field
Once you earn your license, you can start applying for jobs in the insurance field. With a life insurance license, you can provide advice and recommend insurance products to clients, sell life insurance policies that pay a beneficiary upon an insured person’s death, and sell annuities that pay a set income at retirement.
Find life insurance job postings on our Insurance Jobs Board.
When applying for an insurance-related job, potential employers will request your license number and National Producer Number (NPN).
Complete Continuing Education and Renew Your License
In Illinois, you must take 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to maintain your license in good standing. Three of those 24 hours must focus on ethics, and you must complete them in a classroom setting or via webinar.
If you have a non-resident license with good standing in your home state, you don’t need to take CE courses in Illinois.
You can’t renew your license until you complete your continuing education hours and pay any outstanding fines.
In Illinois, you also must renew and manage your life insurance license every two years. To avoid delays in renewing your license, you must complete the required CE hours at least 10 days before your license expires. You must submit your license renewal application through the NIPR. The renewal fee is $180.
Learn how to renew your license with our Illinois Insurance License Renewal guide.
Illinois Department of Insurance Contact Information
Illinois Department of Insurance
320 West Washington Street
Springfield, IL 62767
Phone: (217) 782-4515
License Search: Illinois Insurance License Lookup
Illinois Life Insurance License FAQ
How much does it cost to get a life insurance license in Illinois?
How long does it take to process a life insurance license application in Illinois?
This process typically takes up to three business days from the date you submit your application.
Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois provides a 180-day, temporary life insurance license. You can apply via the NIPR website and select Temporary Producer.
Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in Illinois?
No. An emergency license isn’t available for life insurance agents in Illinois.
Do I need to get my securities license on top of a life insurance license in Illinois?
Probably. While you can sell certain basic life insurance products with just a life insurance license, a securities license removes the limits on what you can sell and puts you in a much better career position. As a securities license holder, you can provide your clients with products tied to the securities market as part of their retirement and life insurance plans. But, you’ll need FINRA accreditation to obtain your securities license.
What can I sell with a life insurance license in Illinois?
With an Illinois life insurance license, you can sell life insurance policies that pay a designated beneficiary when the insured person dies. You also can sell annuities that pay a set income at retirement.
How much can you make with a life insurance license in Illinois?
According to ZipRecruiter, life insurance agents earn an average of $79,730 per year.
What are the limitations of an Illinois life insurance license?
Unless you have multiple licenses to sell various types of insurance products (e.g., the combined life and health insurance license), having an Illinois life insurance license only qualifies you to sell life insurance policies as well as retirement plans and annuities. You can’t sell other types of insurance. A securities license on top of your life insurance license removes that limitation and enables you to offer securities, including stocks and bonds.
Can I cancel my life insurance license in Illinois?
Yes. To cancel your license, mail a signed request (including your entity license number) to:
Illinois Department of Insurance
Attn: Licensing Unit
320 West Washington Street
Springfield, IL 62767
How hard is it to get a life insurance license in Illinois?
The process is quite simple! Follow the steps above and get started today!