If you are looking to start your insurance career, you need to pass a state-specific insurance exam to obtain your license.
Passing the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam qualifies you to apply for a Property and Casualty License (P&C License). You need a P&C License to sell property and casualty products, such as homeowner’s, auto, and commercial liability, among others.
The P&C insurance exam is a crucial step in the insurance licensing process. With preparation and planning, you will be able to prove your knowledge of property and casualty insurance and successfully pass the exam.
What is the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam?
The property and casualty exam is a pre-license requirement by the state. The exam tests your knowledge of the general terms, concepts, and policies in selling property and casualty insurance.
Taking the P&C insurance license exam can be the most challenging step in the licensing process. The overall pass rate for the insurance exam is 60%, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The insurance exam is not one to take lightly and requires preparation and planning.
Enrolling in an exam prep course will help you prepare and pass the exam on your first try. The property and casualty insurance exam covers the basic elements that you learned in your property and casualty insurance exam prep course, including information about writing policies and contracts, policy standards, and general underwriting and insurance questions that will be relevant to your position in the long run.
What Do I Need to Know Before Taking the Exam?
Each state has its own requirements for applicants taking the P&C insurance exam. These requirements include license applications, pre-licensing education, scheduling and rescheduling fees, and state-approved exam providers, among others.
Before taking the exam, many states require the completion of a pre-licensing education course. The required hours of the course will vary in each state. For example, California requires at least 20 to 40 hours of pre-license education before qualifying to register for the insurance exam.
Even if a pre-license course is not required, applicants in states that do not require any pre-license education are recommended to take a course specifically to prepare for the test. They are generally the only way to get the specific information required to take and pass the exam.
How Much Does the P&C Insurance Exam Cost?
The cost of the insurance exam depends on your state’s requirements and could be anywhere from $40 to $150, averaging around $70 per attempt.
While retaking exams is possible, it can get expensive. Take your exam prep course properly coupled with some serious studying and do everything you can to pass the exam on your first try.
If you are interested in taking an exam prep course, check out our review of the Kaplan Insurance Pre-License Course.
Scheduling Your P&C Insurance Exam
The application process for the property and casualty exam varies for each state. In most states, you will need to schedule a date and time to take your exam. This scheduling will either be done over the phone, by mail or online.
Schedule your exam two to three weeks ahead after you start your pre-license course or get your study materials. This will give you enough time to properly study and prepare for the exam.
Most states do not allow same-day scheduling for the exam, meaning that you need to plan in advance for your next exam date. Some states have a waiting period if you fail a certain number of times, but most do not.
Find out how to schedule the property and casualty exam in your state: Insurance Licensing.
Where to Take the P&C Insurance Exam?
Insurance exam providers have several testing locations within each state. Well-known third-party exam providers include PSI, Pearson VUE, and Prometric. Your state will specify which company they use to administer the exams.
For example, New York authorizes PSI Services to provide exam services to candidates looking to get an insurance license in the state, while North Dakota chooses Prometric as its state license examination vendor.
How to Prepare for the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam?
The best preparation for your property and casualty exam is to stay on top of your studies from day one. Each state department provides exam content outlines which you can use to help you prepare for the test.
A combination of pre-licensing coursework, personal study materials, and good study habits can give you the best chance of passing the exam on your first attempt.
1. Sign up for a pre-licensing education course
While not all states require it, it is advisable to take a pre-licensing education course for your property and casualty exam. Taking a course will train you on what you need to know about property and casualty insurance.
2. Develop a self-study program
Approach your studies with a healthy frame of mind. Learning the material as you go and reviewing regularly will help you avoid panic and cramming the night before the exam. Get your study materials (whether in digital or in print), schedule study time weeks before the exam, and try not to worry too much about the potential outcome of the exam.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate into your self-study program:
- Schedule a time to study
Create a study calendar to track your time on hours you spend studying. You do not need to pull an all-nighter. Plan your study weeks ahead before the exam to avoid cramming and study burnout.
- Practice answering questions
Taking practice exams and mock tests online can enhance your learning. Research shows that taking practice tests improves post-exam results more than spending the same amount of time memorizing.
- Paraphrase, not memorize
To make sure that you understand what you have studied, try to explain the material in your own words. How would you explain the content to a six-year-old? If you just memorized everything but haven’t fully grasped the key points, then try to relate to what is being learned on the exam material.
For more study tips, look into StateRequirement’s How to Pass the Insurance Exam page.
3. Get a reasonable amount of sleep and healthy foods
You need sleep and healthy food to think clearly and stay focused. Before exam day, spend the hour before bed avoiding watching television and checking social media on your computer or mobile phone. Set your alarm early enough to avoid rushing so that you have plenty of time to eat a well-balanced breakfast with protein and fiber to keep you fuller longer.
What is the Format of the P&C Insurance Exam?
The property and casualty exam is computer-based and given as a multiple-choice format in all states. The specifics of the exam, number of questions, hours allotted, and passing scores, vary from state to state.
Whether you are taking the exam in a testing center or online, it is proctored and not an open-book type of exam.
In all states, qualified state-approved exam proctors are on-site (or through a video conferencing application if the exam is done remotely) throughout the duration of the exam to properly and securely administer the exams.
What is on the P&C Insurance License Exam?
The property and casualty exam questions are split into two categories: general knowledge and state-specific knowledge.
The general knowledge part will test your knowledge about general insurance terms and concepts, policy provisions and contract law, related terms, and types of P&C insurance policies that include:
- Automobile (personal and business)
- National Flood Insurance Program
- Worker’s Compensation
- General Liability, etc.
The state-specific portion covers state laws and regulations pertaining to property and casualty insurance and public transactions, in addition to licensing requirements, marketing practices, agent duties and responsibilities, etc.
What Do I Need to Bring on Exam Day?
On exam day, provide at least one form of identification (ID) with your photograph and signature (ex. Social Security card, state ID card, passport, military identification).
In some states where pre-license education is required, you need to bring your completion certificate from your chosen pre-license education company. In most cases, your pre-license education provider sends the insurance department a copy of your certificate of completion when you finish your course.
Candidates should take only approved items into the exam room. The items not allowed inside the exam room include:
- Cellular devices
- Music players
- Books and other study materials
- Handbags, briefcases, and/or wallets
- Bulky or loose clothing that could be used to hide notes or recording devices, including coats, hooded clothing, heavy jackets, etc.
- Headgear not used for religious purposes, including hats, baseball caps, or visors
Some testing facilities do provide personal lockers to store your belongings for the duration of the exam. If a candidate is found to carry prohibited items in the exam room, their exam results will be immediately forfeited.
Taking the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam
The P&C insurance exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice exam. With all that studying you have been doing, try to relax and focus on the test in front of you.
1. Read each question carefully
Do not jump straight to the answer you think is correct. Even if answer a appears to be the correct choice, do not skip the remaining answer choices. This may be a timed test, but do not rush as you should have plenty of time if you relax and pace yourself.
2. Eliminate wrong answers
In your mind, cross out the options you know are incorrect then focus on the remaining answers. Not only does this strategy save time, it increases your chances of choosing the right answer.
3. Know what you are looking for
Multiple choices can easily distract you from the correct answer. Understand the exam question first, then choose what to look for among the answers. Once you understand the question, it’s easy to recall the correct answer to it.
4. Make an educated guess
Multiple-choice tests are designed to test out your knowledge and ability. When two answers may seem correct in a question, go with what you think is the best choice.
5. Don’t read too much into the question
Do not spend too much time working out the answer to a difficult question or going back to the same unanswered questions. Work your way through the rest of the exam, answer all of the questions you know, then go back and tackle the difficult ones.
What Happens After Taking the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam?
After completing the exam, you will receive a printout of your results from the testing center. This printout illustrates your overall performance of the exam.
Once you have passed your exam, you are ready to apply for an insurance license. Whether you are getting a license to become an insurance agent or to launch your own insurance agency, passing the exam is a big step towards your professional goals.
If you are looking to apply for insurance-related jobs, see job listings at StateRequirement’s Insurance Job Board.
What If I Didn’t Pass the P&C Insurance Exam?
If you did not pass the property and casualty insurance exam, you can take it again, but you will need to pay the testing fee again.
In most states, the exam center will provide you a printout detailing the sections of the exam you scored well, and which you struggled with. This will give insight on what you need to review and work on.
The trick to passing the exam on your second try is to continue studying right where you left off. Reschedule the exam as soon as you are prepared while everything is still fresh in your mind because once you take the exam again, the questions will be different this time around.
Retaking the exam may or may not have a waiting period depending on your state. For example, Alabama doesn’t require a waiting period for failing the first attempt, but requires a waiting period of 90 days for failing the second attempt.
Property and Casualty Exam FAQ
What score do I need to pass the property and casualty insurance exam?
The score to pass the property and casualty insurance exam range between 70 and 75 depending on the state.
Is the property and casualty exam hard?
Based on the average number from the National National Association Of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 55% of participants pass the exams on their first attempt. This means that with serious studying and preparation, anyone can pass the exam with flying colors.
How much does the property and casualty insurance exam cost?
The fees for registering for the property and casualty insurance exam depends on the state you live in. For example, California charges $55 for the examination fee for property and casualty insurance exam applicants.
How many questions are on the property and casualty insurance exam?
The questions on the property and casualty insurance exam depends on your state. The exam is given in multiple-choice format with questions ranging between 150 and 170.
How long does the property and casualty exam take?
The property and casualty exam is timed and takes between two and four hours depending on your state.
Can I retake the property and casualty insurance exam?
Yes, although there may be a waiting period before retaking the exam. There will also be another test fee. Schedules and fees will vary in each state.
What happens if I fail the P&C exam?
If you do not pass the exam, you can retake it and schedule another exam online. Note that the exams must be scheduled in advance. There are waiting periods specific to each attempt. Also, if you fail the exam, your exam fee is non-refundable.