Have you been thinking about a job in insurance? Insurance sales is one of the most easily approachable fields a person can get into. Whether you are an entry-level employee with no job experience or a veteran with many years in selling insurance, there is a position that is right for you.
Besides being extremely accessible, working in or owning an insurance agency can be a deeply fulfilling career. In fact, many people who enter the insurance industry end up making it their life-long career.
In this How to Sell Insurance article, we’ll explore the different types of insurance that you can sell as a licensed agent, delineate the benefits of doing so, and break down how you can get started.
What Kind of Insurance Will You Sell?
Before jumping into your insurance career, you need to know which types of insurance you want to sell. Are you thinking of selling car insurance? Homeowners’ insurance? Life insurance?
There are many different types of insurance available, all of which require state-mandated insurance licenses to sell.
Some of the common types of insurance are:
- Auto Insurance – This is the most common type of insurance policy sold, as every state requires all drivers to carry insurance on their car or truck when driving on public roads. Auto insurance protects drivers from the financial impacts of causing or being involved in a car accident. Selling auto insurance requires a property & casualty license.
- Homeowners’ Insurance – When a person buys a home and gets a loan through a bank the bank will require the buyer to carry homeowners’ insurance on the house for the entirety of the loan. This type of coverage will help pay to fix or replace the structure and all of your personal belongings within from catastrophes like fire, extreme weather, or accidents on the property. Selling homeowners’ insurance requires a property & casualty license
- Renters’ Insurance – Like a homeowners’ policy, renters’ insurance will help replace all of your personal belongings in the case of tragedy. It does not, however, protect the dwelling, because the tenant is not responsible for the structure. Renters are not required to carry renters’ insurance unless it is a stipulation of the lease, but even if it isn’t required this coverage is often very inexpensive and a very wise investment. Selling renters’ insurance requires a property & casualty license
- Life Insurance – A life insurance policy only pays out in the event of a person’s death. It is meant to help the remaining family keep their quality of life if suddenly the policyholder is no longer there to provide financially. Selling life insurance is much different than selling home or auto insurance as the subject of a persons’ mortality may be difficult for some to deal with. Since this is the case, a life insurance agent will generally be more experienced in the insurance field and the commissions can be very high. Selling life insurance requires a life & health license. Depending on how the policy is structured, it may also require a FINRA securities license as well
- Health Insurance – This is a highly controversial coverage in today’s world as it is under the scrutiny of many high-level political figures. Most of the time health insurance is sold by larger companies, though some smaller agencies can be involved in this process as well. You will often find payroll companies selling health insurance as an addition to their offerings of bookkeeping and employee services. Selling health insurance requires a life & health license
While there are other types of insurance on the market, these are the most commonly referenced policies. The same licenses mentioned above will cover many of the other categories of insurance not stated in this article.
Get Your Insurance License
As mentioned above, to sell insurance you will need to carry an insurance license.
Insurance laws are administered at the state level, which means that each state has its own set of policies and requirements surrounding insurance licensing.
Luckily, we have done the research for you and put together free step-by-step guides on how to get your insurance licenses in each and every state.
Most often the steps you will need to follow are:
- Apply for your license – This application is generally completed online. Fees for the application can fall between $20 – $300 depending on the state and type of licenses you are applying for
- Fingerprints and pass a background check – Not all states require a fingerprint to get your license, but they all have a background check process that is initiated by the license application Some prior felonies or misdemeanors may delay or impede your eligibility to become licensed. Refer to your state insurance department for more information regarding eligibility
- Complete an insurance pre-licensing education course – Most states mandate that you complete a certain amount of pre-license education hours before you can get your license. Not all states carry this requirement, but these courses are a great way to prepare yourself for the insurance license exam
For insurance pre-license education and study tools, StateRequirement recommends:
- Pass the insurance license exam – Every state requires applicants to take and pass an insurance license exam for each different type of license they will carry. The exams are multiple-choice, timed, and proctored. They can range anywhere from 50 to 200 questions and have a common pass rate of 50% to 60%. These tests should not be taken lightly, as they also have an associated fee for each attempt. Take some time to read our Insurance Exam Guide, and then get your study materials to best prepare yourself.
Work With an Insurance Company
Once you have the proper insurance license you will need to find a company to partner with to sell insurance. This can either be accomplished by starting your own company or working for an agency. Since starting your own agency is a very large and complicated undertaking, we’ll just cover working for an existing agency in this article.
Some insurance agencies will help you get your insurance license, so this step may come before licensing in some cases.
Finding a job at an agency is a lot like finding any other job. One positive, however, is that many insurance companies push their agencies to subscribe to an “always be hiring” mindset, so finding an opening near you is generally not a difficult task.
If you are applying for an insurance sales job, be sure to highlight any prior sales or customer service experience in your resume when applying to the position. You will likely be speaking on the phone and in person regularly with clients and prospects, so the hiring agent will want to know that you are comfortable and confident with these types of tasks.
How to Find Your Insurance Sales Strategy
Every independent agent needs a strategy to make sales. Even if you are lucky enough to work in an agency that creates a lot of inbound traffic you will still need to have a plan in place when the phone rings.
Most independent agents and agencies aren’t lucky enough for the phone to “just ring”, however. The “if you build it, they will come” strategy is the driving force behind many failed ventures in the insurance game. You need to know what to do to make the phone ring.
Some different strategies that an agency can try include:
- Cold calling
- Internet leads
- Phone leads
- Blanket mailers
- Internet advertising
- Referral (word-of-mouth) marketing
- Local events
There is a nearly infinite number of ways to market your insurance business beyond just these listed ideas. Some will work better than others. Some will work for some agencies that won’t work for others.
The smartest strategy for you to implement is testing different tactics to see what works and what doesn’t. When you find a method that yields results, attack it with vigor and keep testing!
Take Care of Your Clients
Sometimes when you are in the heat of a big sales push it can be easy to forget about the policies that are already in place. The best insurance agencies keep in mind that for each one of those policies there is a live person behind it.
People want to feel like they are being taken care of – not just in a claim situation – all the time. Keep in contact with your client base on at least a semi-regular basis. You don’t need to try to sell them something every time you call them, but you can make them feel as though they are a part of the agency’s family if you give a call and ask if they have any questions or to tell them “Happy Birthday”.
Since insurance generally pays on renewing premiums just the same as new policies, it is imperative that you keep your client retention high. It is always less expensive to keep an old customer than it is to gain a new one. Plus, peoples’ lives are always changing, so making sure they always have the best-suited coverage is good for both the client and the agency.
How to Sell Insurance FAQ
How do you sell insurance?
To sell insurance, you must first become a licensed insurance agent. Then, you must choose what types of insurance policies you want to provide your clients. Life insurance (or combined life and health insurance) and property and casualty insurance are two of the most common types of insurance you can sell. You will also need to decide what type of agent you will be (e.g., captive agent, independent insurance agent, etc.).
Is insurance sales a good career?
Yes, getting into the insurance industry is a rewarding career path. Insurance agents can either opt to get paid based on their commissions or a combination of salary and commission. You have unlimited earning potential, work flexibility, and can do a lot more besides selling insurance. To know more about jobs in insurance, visit StateRequirement’s Job Board.
Do I need to take an exam to sell insurance?
Yes. Taking an insurance exam is the first step toward getting your insurance license. Once you pass your insurance exam and obtain your license, you can already choose the types of insurance policies you want to sell and grow your career. Learn how to pass the insurance exam on the first try with our study guide.
Do I need to take continuing education courses when selling insurance?
You will need to take continuing education courses to renew your license. All states require that insurance license holders meet a minimum of continuing education (CE) hours to maintain professional knowledge.
Can I sell insurance without a license?
No. While some states offer temporary and/or emergency licenses for some types of insurance (like , for example), you cannot sell insurance without passing an insurance exam and getting your license.
Can I sell insurance from home?
Yes. You can sell insurance from home or remotely, depending on your current work setup (i.e., whether you have an out-of-state client or have remote work provisions from your company). Remember that as an insurance agent, you are responsible for bringing new business to your insurance company. You will need to effectively communicate with prospects to sell insurance plans and build connections.
Ready for More?
- Get licensed as an insurance agent | Insurance Licensing
- Take a pre-license course to prepare for the test | Best Insurance Course
- Learn what it takes to become an insurance agent | How to Become an Insurance Agent
- How to Sell Insurance From Home
- How to Sell Insurance Over the Phone
- How to Sell Insurance Part Time
- How Hard is it to Sell Insurance
- How Do Insurance Agents Get Clients
For all related articles, have a look at our How to Sell Insurance Resources page.