How to Get a Life Insurance License in Washington

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

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How to Get a Life Insurance License in Washington

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

The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) requires you to complete a five-step process to become a life insurance agent in Washington — 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 Washington Life Insurance License

  1. Complete a Washington Insurance Pre-license Course (Kaplan Education Company – $149+)
  2. Take the Washington Life Insurance Licensing Exam (PSI – $35)
  3. Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check (IdentoGO – $49.25)
  4. Complete a Washington Life Insurance License Application (Washington OIC Online Services – $60 application fee)
  5. Watch for Your Application Results

Life Insurance License Washington

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

Step 1: Complete a Washington Insurance Pre-license Course

Before you take the Washington 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 Washington, you must complete 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 prelicensing 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: Take the Washington Life Insurance Licensing Exam

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

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

The Washington life insurance exam outline contains a total of 100 scored questions that cover eight sections: 

  • Federal Laws and Regulations
  • Washington Laws, Rules, and Regulations
  • General Insurance Concepts
  • Life Insurance Basics
  • Types of Life Insurance Policies
  • Life Insurance Policy Provisions, Options, and Riders
  • Annuities
  • Federal Tax Considerations for Life Insurance

You’ll have 150 minutes to complete the exam. The Washington life insurance exam fee is $35, 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 Washington 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: Get a Fingerprint-Based Background Check

After you take the Washington life insurance exam, you must get a fingerprint-based background check from IdentoGOThe fee for fingerprinting services is $49.25 to cover the cost of comparing your prints against criminal history records. 

To set up a fingerprinting appointment, visit the IdentoGO website and click on the “Schedule a New Appointment” button.

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 4: Complete a Washington Life Insurance License Application

Once you pass the life insurance exam and complete the background check, you can apply for your Washington life insurance license. The application fee is $60, and you must apply online via the Washington OIC Online Services portal.

The Washington OIC 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 Washington, make sure you comply with the insurance licensing requirements as defined under the Washington Insurance Code and the Washington Administrative Code.

Send any questions or supporting documents to the Washington OIC via this contact form.

Step 5: Watch for Your Application Results

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

Once the Washington OIC 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 Washington OIC Online Services portal. There’s no charge to create an account or print a license. If you don’t remember your license number, you can find it by using the Washington OIC Agent Search tool.

Congratulations!

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

Steps After Securing Your Washington Life Insurance License

Once you complete the above steps and have your Washington 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.

Get a Job in the Insurance Field

When applying for an insurance-related job, potential employers will request your license number and National Producer Number (NPN).

You can request a letter of certification, which proves you have a life insurance license in Washington, via this contact form. You must provide the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your Washington OIC Online Services account number
  • How do you want your letter delivered (e.g., via postal mail, fax, or email)
  • A valid postal address, email address, or fax number
  • Your dated signature (an email signature block is acceptable)
  • The $5 fee (per letter)

The Washington OIC usually processes requests within three days of receiving them.

Keep Your License Valid

In Washington, you must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years to renew your license (at least three hours must relate to ethics/consumer protection).

To avoid delays in renewing your license, you should complete the required CE hours at least 60 days before your license expires.

This is because this will give your CE provider enough time to report your results to the Washington OIC. 

Note: A $55 renewal fee will need to be paid, with an additional $55 late fee being imposed when applicable.

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

Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner Contact Information

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 40255
Olympia, WA 98504-0255

Phone: 360-725-7144

Email: Use This Contact Form

Website: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/

License Search: Washington Insurance License Lookup

Washington Life Insurance License FAQ

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

Obtaining a life insurance license in Washington requires these fees:
Insurance Pre-license Education Course Fee: $149+ via Kaplan Education Company
Exam Fee: $35 via PSI
Fingerprint-Based Background Check Fee: $49.25 via IdentoGO
Application Fee: $60 via the Washington OIC Online Services portal

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

This process typically takes three to five business days. You’ll receive an email once the Washington OIC reviews your application.

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

No. Washington doesn’t provide a temporary life insurance license.

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

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

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

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 Washington?

With a Washington 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 Washington?

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

What are the limitations of a Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington?

Yes. To cancel your license, submit an attached letter with your name, license number, and signature via this contact form. The date the Washington OIC processes your request will be your license-cancellation date.

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

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

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