Getting your California insurance license is the first step to becoming an insurance agent in California. Whether you’re interested in selling property and casualty insurance, life insurance, health insurance, or any combination of those lines of authority, this article has the information you need to get started.

    The California Department of Insurance has a 6-step process to getting your insurance license. We’ll walk you through step-by-step; from the license application to insurance test prep, to the California insurance exam, and beyond.

    This guide has everything you need to know to get your California insurance license quickly and easily.

     

    How To Get Your California Insurance License

    Getting your insurance license in California is easy! Just follow our step-by-step guide. Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can visit it again throughout this process.

     

    Step 1Step 1. Which Insurance Licenses Do You Need?

    The first step to getting your CA insurance license is choosing which licenses you need. The most common licenses new insurance agents get are the property & casualty license (P&C)life and health insurance license (L&H).

    The types of insurance products and policies you’ll be selling will determine which licenses you need. Here are some examples of the types of policies you can market with each license:

     

    Most insurance agents and producers choose to get both P&C and L&H licenses, but if you plan on specializing in only one category then you don’t need every license.

    Insurance adjusters require a separate license. You can find more information on becoming an insurance adjuster here: California Insurance Adjuster License

    Note:

    If you plan on specializing as a life insurance agent, then you may also need to hold a certain FINRA securities license.

     

    Step 2

    Step 2. Fingerprinting and Background Check

    California requires that all insurance license applicants provide fingerprints prior to licensing. Giving your fingerprints will initiate a background check. If you have any prior misdemeanors or felonies, this may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts.

    Schedule to have your fingerprint impressions taken before the license examination. Accurate Biometrics is CDI’s preferred vendor, call (866) 361-9944 find the location nearest to you. The fee for having fingerprints taken is $59, includes the FBI processing fee of $17, DOJ processing fee of $32, and the CDI’s contractor’s rolling fee of $10.

    You also have the option to take your fingerprint at a PSI test center. There the total processing fee for the fingerprint impressions taken is $68.95 which includes all associated fees.

    Note:

    Staff at the licensing department mention that having your fingerprints completed prior to testing with PSI will ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in your license process.

    To ensure fingerprint impressions are properly recorded you must pay the $59 fee and complete the following:

    1. Fill out the Request for Live Scan Service form LIC 442-39A.
    2. Take your completed Request for Live Scan Service form to the live scan vendor.
    3. Complete the fingerprint impressions.
    4. Retain a copy of the Request for Live Scan Service form LIC 442-39A for your records. Give a copy of the form to the live scan service vendor who will provide you with the Automated Transaction Identifier (ATI) number that is assigned to your fingerprint impressions. If your fingerprint impressions are rejected, the ATI number will allow for you to have your fingerprint impressions redone at no charge.

    In addition, if a license is not issued within twelve months of the date the fingerprints are submitted, a new set of fingerprint impressions will be required.

    If you have any further questions regarding fingerprinting or the background check, call the California Department of Insurance at (800) 967-9331 or email the License Department contact form.

     

    Step 3

    Step 3. California Insurance Pre-License Education

    After you’ve determined which licenses you need, you must now take your California insurance pre-license education courses.

    Most folks choose to take their insurance pre-license course online. These courses are created specifically to give you the skills you need to pass the test. The types of licenses you choose (also known as “lines of authority”) will determine which courses you take.

    Each line of authority in California requires twenty (20) hours of pre-license education. This means that if you wish to get a Property and Casualty license, you must take forty (40) hours of pre-licensing, and for Life, Accident, and Health you must also take forty (40) hours.

    You will receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Keep this certificate, as you will need it when taking your exam.

    California requires that twelve (12) of those pre-license education hours must be in Ethics and California Insurance Code.

    Recommended Course

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    Step 4

    Step 4. California Insurance License Exam

    The next step after completing all of your pre-licensure coursework is to take the insurance exam. You will take one exam for each line of insurance you wish to carry. Life, Accident & Health and Property & Casualty (P&C) lines are combined as one test each, so you wouldn’t take four tests, you would only take two altogether. You must pass your exams within one year of completing your pre-license education course.

    This is a proctored test, which means that you will be in a controlled environment with a person watching you. For people who haven’t tested in a situation like this should be aware of this fact, and work on taming their nerves prior to sitting for the exam.

    The fee for each attempt of the exams is $88, plus a $33 convenience fee ($121 totalfor each “combined producer exam” (P&C and L&H). When you show up you must have a photo ID and the original pre-license education certificate. You have one hundred ninety-five (195) minutes to complete each exam, which both have one hundred fifty (150) questions.

    Neither PSI Exams or the California Department of Insurance advertise what a “passing score” is, or how the exams are scored. After taking the exams, you will receive a pass or fail letter. If you fail, your letter will include a “diagnostic report indicating your strengths and weaknesses.

    To register for the California Insurance License Exam, visit PSI Exams – California.

    For more information on the California Insurance exams, visit this PDF from PSI Exams.

    Check out our Insurance Exam Guide. It’s extremely in-depth, and will hopefully help you pass the first time.

     

    Insurance license tests are intentionally difficult, but not impossible by any means. You should study to the point of comfortability with the information before you attempt the test. Failing the exam isn’t the end of the world, but keep in mind that you will need to pay the fee each time you attempt the test.

    Tip:

    StateRequirement recommends that you study for one exam at a time, then after passing, starting on your next line. The exams are difficult enough on their own without confusing information from one line to another.

    Check out our review of the Kaplan Insurance Course.

    You may register to take your exams and find more information on the PSI Exams website.

     

    Step 5

    Step 5. California Insurance License Application

    Once you have completed your exams and fingerprinting, you are now ready to apply for your license. If you have more than one line of authority that you have passed the exam for, be sure to apply for all of those lines.

    The fee for an online application is $188 per combined line. If you wish to get your Property & Casualty AND your Life, Accident, & Health licenses, you will need to apply for each license separately, and pay the $170 fee each time.

    Fill out your online application on the NIPR California web page.

     

    Step 6

    Step 6. Application Review

    Once you have submitted your application and have filled all the other requirements, your license application will be reviewed by the state. Your background check will also be reviewed.

    If everything is to acceptable standards your license should be issued within two to three (2-3) weeks. If there are any items from your background check that need to be reviewed, it may slow down the process of issuance. If this is the case, the state may contact you to provide context to the issues that they have run into.

    You should receive an email informing you of your license acceptance, but the folks in the license office recommend that you don’t rely on this email. They would rather you use the license lookup tool. To check and see if your license has been issued, you may look yourself up in the California Department of Insurance License Lookup Tool.

     

    Congratulations!

    You’ve done the work, put in the time and effort, and now hold the key to your own success!  We’re proud of you. Take five (5) minutes and celebrate.




    After Getting Your California Insurance License

    Once you’ve passed your exams and completed the licensing application, you are now a licensed insurance agent in California. A common question we hear is, “I have my insurance license, now what?” Here are a few things you can do or need to know:




    California Department Of Insurance Contact Information

    Mailing Address:

    California Department of Insurance
    Producer Licensing Bureau
    320 Capitol Mall
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Phone: (800) 967-9331

    Email: Contact Form

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

    License Search: California Insurance License Search and Lookup

     

    California Insurance License FAQ

    How long is the insurance license period in California?

    Two years. Learn more here: California Insurance License Renewal

     

    How long does it take to get an insurance license in California?

    2-8 weeks. The bulk of the time is spent on studying for your California insurance exam. Some people study for as little as one week and feel comfortable taking the exam. We recommend you take whatever amount of time you need to feel comfortable with the material. Check out our guide: How to Pass the Insurance Exam

     

    How much does the insurance license cost?

    The total cost for your insurance course, application, and exam will be about $375. If you don’t pass the exam the first time, add $121 for each subsequent attempt.

     

    How do I get a life insurance license in California?

    Follow the steps above. The licensing process is the same for all insurance agent and producer licenses.

     

    How do I get a property and casualty license in California?

    Follow the steps above. The licensing process is the same for all insurance agent and producer licenses.




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    Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in April 2021.

    Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliated with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.

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