How to Get a Life Insurance License in South Dakota

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

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

The South Dakota Division of Insurance requires you to complete a four-step process to become a life insurance agent in South Dakota — 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 South Dakota Life Insurance License

  1. Complete a South Dakota Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
  2. Take the South Dakota Life Insurance Licensing Exam (Pearson VUE – $85)
  3. Complete a South Dakota Life Insurance License Application (Sircon – $25 application fee)
  4. Watch for Your Application Results

Life Insurance License South Dakota

Obtaining your South Dakota 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 South Dakota property and casualty (P&C) license as well.

Step 1: Complete a South Dakota Insurance Pre-license Course

Before you take the South Dakota 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.

While South Dakota doesn’t have any formal pre-license education requirements, most insurance professionals opt to take a pre-license education course online. Others purchase books or self-study materials to prepare themselves for the exam.

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: Take the South Dakota Life Insurance Licensing Exam

After you complete a prep course and your own independent studying, it’s time to take the South Dakota life insurance exam.

South Dakota uses Pearson VUE as its official testing service for delivering licensure exams.

The South Dakota life insurance exam outline contains a total of 90 scored questions that cover 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 South Dakota.

You’ll have 120 minutes to complete the exam. The South Dakota life insurance exam fee is $85, 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 South Dakota 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 3: Complete a South Dakota Life Insurance License Application

Once you pass the life insurance exam, you can apply for your South Dakota life insurance license. The application fee is $25, and you must apply online via Sircon.

The South Dakota Division of Insurance 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 South Dakota, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the South Dakota Insurance Code and the South Dakota Administrative Code.

Send any questions or supporting documents to sdinsurance@state.sd.us.

Step 4: Watch for Your Application Results

After you complete the previous three steps, the South Dakota Division of Insurance will review your application and background check. It reviews applications in the order it receives them, and this process usually takes one to five business days from the date you submit your application.

Once the South Dakota Division of Insurance 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 Sircon website. There’s no charge to print a license. If you don’t remember your license number, you can find it by using Sircon’s Customer Inquiry tool.

Congratulations!

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

Steps After Securing Your South Dakota Life Insurance License

Once you complete the above steps and have your South Dakota 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 South Dakota, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to renew your license.

To avoid delays in renewing your license, you must complete the required CE hours at least 90 days before your license expires.

Keep in mind that a $25 renewal fee will need to be paid.

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

South Dakota Division of Insurance Contact Information

Mailing Address

124 South Euclid Avenue, 2nd Floor
Pierre, SD 57501

Phone: (605) 773-3563

Email: sdinsurance@state.sd.us

Website: http://dlr.sd.gov/insurance

License Search: South Dakota Insurance License Lookup

South Dakota Life Insurance License FAQ

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

Obtaining a life insurance license in South Dakota requires these fees: 
Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $149+ via Kaplan Education Company
Exam Fee: $85 via Pearson VUE
Application Fee: $25 via Sircon

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

This process typically takes one to five business days. You’ll receive an email once the South Dakota Division of Insurance reviews your application.

Can I get a temporary life insurance agent license in South Dakota?

No. South Dakota doesn’t provide a temporary life insurance license.

Can I get an emergency life insurance agent license in South Dakota?

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

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

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 South Dakota?

With a South Dakota 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 South Dakota?

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

What are the limitations of a South Dakota 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 a South Dakota 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 South Dakota?

Yes. To cancel your license, email an attached letter with your name, license number, and signature to sdinsurance@state.sd.us.

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

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

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