Select Your State
Property and Casualty Licensing Articles
Obtaining a property and casualty insurance license (P&C license) is a requirement for selling insurance products like homeowners, auto, commercial property, and professional liability policies.
The process can differ slightly from state to state, but it’s generally pretty similar. This article will walk through each of the steps to help you get your P&C license.
Check out our How to Become an Insurance Agent guides for state-specific information.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend using Kaplan’s online study packages, which come with a 93% pass rate.
What is a P&C Insurance License?
A P&C license authorizes an insurance agent or broker to sell or negotiate property and casualty insurance policies. P&C policies protect people and businesses from financial losses resulting from property damages, accidents, theft, bad weather conditions, and other covered events.
While property insurance and casualty insurance are actually two separate lines of coverage, most insurance agencies require their agents to earn licenses to sell both. Moreover, many states offer a combined P&C insurance licensing exam.
Steps to Get a P&C License
The exact steps and requirements to get a P&C license vary by state. Be sure to follow your state’s rules when applying for your license.
The steps usually include the following:
- Complete prelicensing education
- Pass the state P&C license exam
- Complete a background check
- Submit your state P&C license application
Check out our state-by-state insurance licensing guide on how to get a P&C license in your state.
Complete Prelicensing Education
Some states require you to complete a prelicense education course before you take the P&C insurance exam.
Even if your state doesn’t require one, a prelicense education course can help you study for your licensing exam and increase your chances of passing it on your first attempt. If you fail the exam, you’ll have to pay the fee again and spend time retaking it so an education course can be a good investment.
Different providers have various options from which you can choose. Most prelicense education courses run 20 to 40 hours and will meet the requirements of your state.
A prelicense education course can include:
- Practice exams (self-paced or proctored)
- A study calendar
- Live, online, instructor-led modules
- Study guides and materials, including cram sheets and practice questions
- Access to instructors for questions
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:
Pass the State P&C Licensing Exam
The P&C insurance license exam tests your knowledge of the general terms, concepts, and policies involved in selling property and casualty insurance. The questions are split into two categories: general knowledge and state-specific knowledge.
Each state administers its P&C license exam as a computer-based, multiple-choice test. But, details like the specifics of the exam, the number of questions, how much time you have to complete it, and the passing score can vary by state.
Many people find taking the P&C insurance license exam as the most difficult step in the licensing process. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the pass rate for the P&C insurance license exam is 54.9 percent. Taking a prelicense education course can increase your chances of passing, but you should still develop a self-study plan to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the exam.
The cost of the P&C insurance license exam ranges from $33 to more than $100, depending on the state. If you fail the test, you’ll have to pay that fee again to retake the exam.
Check out our How to Pass the Insurance Exam guide for tips to help you earn a passing grade.
Complete a Background Check
Most states require some sort of background check as part of the P&C license application process. Many also require applicants to submit their fingerprints.
Your state will provide you with instructions for this step, which may direct you to a third-party agency or local law enforcement. The cost of fingerprinting typically ranges from $35 to $75.
Your state’s department of insurance, or its appointed provider, will conduct the background check.
Submit Your State P&C License Application
State P&C license applications are usually available through your state’s department of financial services, department of insurance, state corporation commission, or other similar state office.
The P&C license application fee varies from state to state with some charging $25 or less and others charging more than $200. For a breakdown of the different fees for each state, check out our P&C License State Cost guide.
Most states use the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) to accept and process online P&C license applications. The NIPR and other registry services generally charge a small transaction fee for this service.
The P&C license application will ask you for basic information, such as your full legal name, Social Security number, address, and any criminal history.
How to Renew Your P&C Insurance License
After you get your P&C insurance license, you’ll need to take certain steps to renew it and maintain it in good standing.
Each state has its own specific rules and procedures, but renewing a P&C insurance license usually includes two steps:
- Complete Insurance Agent Continuing Education
- Submit Your License Renewal Application
As a best practice, aim to renew your license before it expires. If you don’t, you might have to start the application process all over again from the beginning.
While some states offer a grace period of up to two years to renew your license without submitting a new application, your license becomes inactive on its expiration date. That means you can’t sell insurance until you renew your license.
Complete Insurance Agent Continuing Education
All states require P&C insurance license holders to complete a certain number of continuing education (CE) hours to keep their license. The required number of hours varies by state, but typically includes 20 to 48 hours every two years.
You’ll need to complete these CE hours a designated amount of time before you submit your license renewal application in order for them to appear on your transcript. Make sure to check your state’s requirements so you don’t experience any delays.
Submit Your License Renewal Application
After you complete the required CE hours and they post to your transcript, you can file your P&C insurance license renewal application with your state.
Some states allow you to renew your license up to 180 days before it expires. You need to renew it as soon as possible in case you run into unexpected delays.
You can file the renewal application through your state’s relevant office, such as its department of insurance. Check out our state-specific guides for more details.
Property and Casualty License FAQ
What is a P&C insurance license?
A P&C license allows an insurance professional to sell property and casualty insurance products, such as homeowners insurance, renters insurance, auto insurance, general liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.
How long does it take to get a P&C license?
The requirements for obtaining a P&C license vary by state, but it could take at least two to eight weeks to get a P&C license. You’ll spend most of that time studying for the exam, including completing a prelicensing course (which some states require). After passing the exam, your state’s insurance authority will review your application — a process that could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
How much can you make with a P&C license?
The average P&C insurance agent salary ranges between $30,000 and $44,500 per year. The top earners can make an annual salary of $50,000 or more. P&C insurance agents who sell homeowners and auto insurance also can earn commission based on policy premiums.
Is the P&C insurance test hard?
The passing rate for the P&C insurance license exam is 54.9 percent, according to the NAIC. Taking a prelicense education course can help give you the best chance of passing the exam.
What jobs can you do with a P&C license?
Along with qualifying you to work as an agent or broker, other jobs you can pursue with a P&C license include insurance adjuster, insurance underwriter, insurance investigator, insurance examiner, personal or commercial insurance lines manager, insurance operations manager, and insurance specialist. Sign up for our Insurance Jobs Board to access thousands of available insurance positions.
What are the requirements to obtain a P&C license?
The exact requirements to get a P&C license vary a bit by state, but they usually include the following:
Complete prelicensing education
Pass the state P&C license exam
Complete a background check
Submit your state P&C license application
How much does it cost to enroll in a P&C prelicensing course?
P&C prelicensing course fees will depend on your chosen course provider. For example, Kaplan’s courses to prepare for a P&C license exam typically cost between $139 and $300.