How to Get a Life Insurance License in Ohio

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

Getting your Ohio life insurance license is the first step toward becoming a life insurance agent in the state.

The Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) requires you to complete a five-step process to become a life insurance agent in Ohio — 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 Ohio Life Insurance License

  1. Complete an Ohio Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
  2. Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check (Ohio Attorney General Webcheck Portal – $72.25)
  3. Take the Ohio Life Insurance Licensing Exam (PSI – $42)
  4. Complete an Ohio Life Insurance License Application (National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) – $15 application fee + $5.60 transaction fee)
  5. Watch for Your Application Results

Life Insurance License Ohio

Obtaining your Ohio life insurance license isn’t difficult. Just follow these five 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 Ohio property and casualty (P&C) license as well.

Step 1: Complete an Ohio Insurance Pre-license Course

Before you take the Ohio 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.

In Ohio, you must take a 20-hour, pre-license course on life insurance. After completing the course, you’ll need to present a valid photo ID and an original certificate of completion from the approved pre-license education provider when you arrive to take your exam. Your pre-license course certificate will remain valid for 12 months.

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.

Recommended

Doing a pre-licensing education course dramatically increases your chance of passing your exam on your first attempt, which can end up saving you both time and money in the long run. For pre-licensing education, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Step 2: Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check

After you complete the required pre-license education hours, you must get a fingerprint-based background check from the Ohio Attorney General Webcheck Portal. The fee for fingerprinting services is $72.25 to cover the cost of comparing your prints against criminal history records. 

Schedule your fingerprinting appointment through any of the vendors listed on the Ohio Attorney General Webcheck Portal.

At your fingerprinting appointment, you’ll receive a receipt. Don’t throw it away! Keep the original receipt for your records.

After completing your fingerprint-based background check, you must submit your license application within one year of passing the licensing exam. If you fail to do so, you’ll need to retake the exam.

Step 3: Take the Ohio Life Insurance Licensing Exam

After you complete a prep course and the fingerprint-based background check, it’s time to take the Ohio life insurance exam.

Ohio uses PSI as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.

The Ohio life insurance exam outline contains a total of 100 scored questions that covers two sections: 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 Ohio.

You’ll have 120 minutes to complete the exam. The Ohio life insurance exam fee is $42, which you must pay 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 the Ohio life insurance exam, you can schedule a time to retake it as soon as 24 hours after your first attempt. There’s no limit to the number of attempts you can make on the same exam.

Tip

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 4: Complete an Ohio Life Insurance License Application

Once you pass the life insurance exam, you can apply for your Ohio life insurance license. The application fee is $10 plus $5.60 transaction fee, and you must apply online via the NIPR.

The ODI will issue a life insurance license to individuals who are at least 18 years old and have passed the proper licensing exam. You should submit your completed license application within 12 months of passing the exam.

To apply for a life insurance license in Ohio, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the Ohio Insurance Code and the Ohio Administrative Code.

Send any questions or supporting documents to licensing@insurance.ohio.gov.

Step 5: Watch for Your Application Results

After you complete the previous four steps, the ODI will review your application and background check. It reviews applications in the order it receives them, and this process usually takes seven to ten business days from the date you submit your application.

Once the ODI finishes reviewing your application, it’ll email you with its decision or ask you to provide more information.

You can print your license from the ODI website. There’s no charge to print a license. If you don’t remember your license number, you can find it by using this Ohio Department of Insurance Agent Locator tool.

Congratulations!

You’re now ready to get started as a life insurance agent in Ohio.

Steps After Securing Your Ohio Life Insurance License

Once you complete the above steps and have your Ohio life insurance license, there are a few steps you’ll need to take in order to a) excel as an insurance agent, and b) maintain your life insurance license.

Let’s take a brief look at these below.

Obtain All Relevant Securities Licenses

If you’re planning on selling advanced life insurance products, you’ll likely need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and obtain the relevant securities licenses (e.g., Series 6, 7, and 63).

For more information on this step, you can have a look at our in-depth Securities Licensing overview.

Choose a Means of Selling

You’ll have to decide whether you’d prefer working as a captive agent employed by one company, or running your own business as an independent agent.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely benefit from working as a captive agent, but this will ultimately depend on your personal aspirations and opportunities.

Develop Your Marketing Approach

To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need to adopt a marketing approach that’s effective for you.

We recommend finding and sticking to a niche, as well organizing all client appointments for the start of your week. This is because this can improve your overall client conversions.

Keep Your License Valid

In Ohio, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to renew your license and keep it in good standing. Three of those hours must focus on ethics and/or consumer protection. 

To avoid delays in renewing your license, it’s good practice to aim to have completed your CE at least 90 days before your license expires.

This will allow your provider to report your completed credits to the ODI.

Note: Even though there is no renewal fee, a $50 late fee is imposed.

For a more in-depth look at each one of these steps, check out our Steps After Getting Your Insurance License guide.

Ohio Department of Insurance Contact Information

Mailing Address:

50 West Town Street, Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43215

Phone: (614) 644-2665

Fax: (614) 644-3475

Email: licensing@insurance.ohio.gov

Website: https://insurance.ohio.gov/agents-and-agencies

License Search: Ohio Insurance License Lookup

Ohio Life Insurance License FAQ

How much does it cost to get a life insurance license in Ohio?

Obtaining a life insurance license in Ohio requires these fees:
Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $149+ via Kaplan Education Company
Fingerprint-Based Background Check Fee: $72.25 via the Ohio Attorney General Webcheck Portal
Exam Fee: $42 via PSI
Application Fee: $10 + $5.60 transaction fee via the NIPR

How long does it take to process a life insurance license application in Ohio?

This process typically takes 7 to 10 business days. You’ll receive an email once the Ohio Department of Insurance reviews your application.

Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in Ohio?

Yes. Ohio provides a 180-day temporary life insurance license. To apply, go to the National Insurance Producer Registration (NIPR) website and pay the appropriate fee upon submission.

Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in Ohio?

No. An emergency license isn’t available for life insurance agents in Ohio.

Do I need to get my securities license on top of a life insurance license in Ohio?

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 Ohio?

With an Ohio 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 Ohio?

According to ZipRecruiter, life insurance agents earn an average of $79,730 per year.

What are the limitations of an Ohio 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 Ohio 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 Ohio?

Yes. To cancel your license, submit a completed Individual Agent License Surrender Form to the Ohio Department of Insurance, License Division, 50 W. Town St., 3rd Fl., Suite 300, Columbus, OH 43215.

How hard is it to get a life insurance license in Ohio?

The process is quite simple! Follow the steps above and get started today!

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