How to Get an Insurance License in Illinois

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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How to Get an Insurance License in Illinois

If you’re thinking about becoming an insurance agent in Illinois, the first step you’ll need to take in order to kickstart your career is to obtain an Illinois insurance license.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to become an insurance agent in Illinois, as well as what to do once you get licensed.

Tip: 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.

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Illinois Insurance License

In order to get your Illinois insurance license, you’ll need to complete the following five steps:

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  3. Pass the Relevant Illinois Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. Submit Your Insurance License Application
  5. Fulfill the Bond Requirement

Below we have explored each step in more detail.

Step 1: Decide Which Insurance Licenses You Need

The first step will be deciding what type of insurance policies you’ll want to sell — at least at the start of your career.

This is because the type of insurance policies you’re hoping to sell will dictate the type of license you’ll need. For example, you’d need a Property & Casualty (P&C) license to be able to sell auto, home, or business insurance.

Here’s a list of all the different types of insurance agent licenses that are available in the state of Illinois:

  • Accident & Health
  • Property & Casualty
  • Life
  • Personal lines
  • Motor Vehicle

While there are a large number of different licenses to choose from, the vast majority of insurance agents will either obtain a Property and Casualty (P&C) or Life and Health license.

In fact, many agents actually opt to go for both of these licenses as it allows them to offer clients a much wider range of the most common insurance products.

However, if you already know you want to specialize in one particular type of policy, you’ll of course only have to focus on the specific license that’s relevant to this insurance type.

It’s important to note that, while the state of Illinois does not generally require insurance adjusters to obtain a license in order to operate, this is not the case for public adjusters. For more information, you can have a look at our Illinois Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a Illinois Pre-Licensing Education Course

In accordance with Illinois law, you will be required to complete 20 hours of education for each line of authority you’ll be applying for.

Out of those hours, at least 7.5 will need to be conducted in a classroom setting, while the rest can be completed through an approved online or self-study program.

It should be noted that the purpose of these courses is not only to prepare candidates for the licensing examination but also for a successful career in insurance.

After completing your pre-licensing education, you will receive a signed pre-license course completion certificate. Make sure to keep this document safe, as you will be required to present it in order to sit the licensing examination.

Keep in mind that your pre-licensing course completion certificate will remain valid for 12 months. If you don’t obtain your insurance producer license within this period, you’ll need to retake a course.

Due to the sheer number of pre-licensing education courses available, it’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed when deciding which one is right for you. To avoid this, we typically recommend making a decision based on the following factors:

  • The course’s flexibility (e.g., does it allow flexible learning, does it require completing within a short time-window, etc.)
  • The course’s price: This one is obvious; our only tip here is to not go too low, as from our experience you tend to get what you pay for when it comes to these
  • The course’s reputation: How reliable is each provider? The last thing you want is insufficient and/or incomplete resources before your exam

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:

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If you want more information before getting started, you can also have a look at our in-depth overview of the five best pre-license education courses in 2024.

Step 3: Pass the Relevant Illinois Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant Illinois insurance license exam.

We say “relevant” because this will depend on the line you wish to specialize in. For example, if you’re planning to become a life insurance agent, you will need to pass the General exam and the State-specific exam for life insurance.

Each exam normally costs $92, but you can save money by scheduling both at the same time — in which case you’ll pay $92 for both examinations.

It should be noted that the Illinois Department of Insurance requires a minimum passing score of 70 for all insurance examinations.

Keep in mind that you can sit for more than one exam at a time (e.g., if you want to apply for both a P&C and a life and health insurance license).

Even so, we recommend avoiding this route; this is because passing your exam is hard enough as is, and there is arguably little to gain and a lot to lose with the added risk of confusing separate line material.

We found that the best approach is to study for one at a time, averaging between two to six weeks of study time per exam — depending on whether you are studying full time or part-time, as well as on how comfortable you are at taking proctored exams.

Note: There is no limit to how many times you can attempt an insurance exam throughout the year. Having said that, once you pass one (e.g., either the general exam or the state exam, etc.) you will be required to pass the other within 90 days.

For more information, you can have a look at our Illinois Insurance License Exam guide.

Step 4: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license.

You will need to allow a five-day waiting period after your examination is complete before you can apply. This is done to ensure that your exam results are verified and processed by the system.

After this waiting period, you will need to submit your license application online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

The NIPR website offers detailed, step-by-step guidance to help you through the application process.

Once you submit your application, which comes with a $215 processing fee, you’ll receive an email confirmation signaling that your application is being processed.

Step 5: Fulfill the Bond Requirement

Insurance producers in the state of Illinois are required to maintain a bond if they place insurance either directly or indirectly with an insurer and do not have an agency agreement with them.

This bond must be in favor of the people of the state of Illinois, executed by an authorized surety company, and payable to any party injured under the terms of the bond.

Furthermore, the bond needs to be continuous and must amount to either $2,500 or 5% of the premiums brokered in the previous calendar year, whichever is greater.

It’s important to note that the total aggregate liability of said bond cannot exceed $50,000.

You are obligated to keep this bond at your place of business. You must also ensure that information regarding the bond is readily available and provided to any inquiring party within three working days of their request.

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the Illinois Department of Insurance all that’s left to do is wait.

If everything on your application has been filled out correctly, your license should be issued within two to five weeks — which is the amount of time it typically takes for a license application and background check to be reviewed.

It’s important to be aware that the issuance of your insurance license can take a bit longer than this if there are any items from your background check that need to be looked over. However, the state will likely get in touch with you to give some context if they run into any issues.

In any case, the state will send you an email regarding the status of your license once this review has been completed, so keep an eye out for that!

Pro tip: 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.

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After Getting Your Illinois Insurance License

After successfully completing all required exams and receiving approval for your license application, you will officially become a licensed insurance agent in Illinois.

At this point, there are four main steps that we recommend new insurance agents to take:

  1. Obtain Any Relevant Securities Licenses: If you’re planning on selling advanced life insurance products, you’ll need to pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and obtain the relevant securities licenses (e.g., Series 6, 7, and 63).
  2. 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.
  3. Develop Your Marketing Approach: To succeed as an insurance agent, you’ll need to adopt a marketing approach that’s effective for you. Finding and sticking to a niche, as well organizing all client appointments for the start of your week, are two great ways to do this.
  4. Keep Your License Valid: In Illinois, you will be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years in order to keep your insurance license active. Out of these, three must be on ethics courses.

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

Illinois Department of Insurance Contact Information

Mailing Address:
320 West Washington Street
Springfield, Illinois 62767-0001

Phone: (217) 782-4515

Fax: (217) 782-5020

Email: DOI.Licensing@illinois.gov

Website: https://idoi.illinois.gov/producers.html

License Search: Illinois Insurance License Search and Lookup

Illinois Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Illinois?

Yes, in Illinois, you are required to renew your insurance license biennially. To qualify for renewal, you will need to complete 24 hours of continuing education, which must include 3 hours focused on ethics. Furthermore, you will need to make sure that all coursework is finished at least ten business days before your license’s expiration date in order to meet the renewal criteria.

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

It typically takes two to five weeks to obtain an insurance license in Illinois after you’ve submitted your application. This period allows the Illinois Department of Insurance to review your application. Keep in mind that paper applications can take even longer.

How much does the Illinois insurance license cost?

Obtaining an Illinois insurance license involves several fees: $92 for each exam and a $215 application processing fee. Additionally, you should budget for pre-licensing education courses, which are required before you can sit for your exam(s). Interested in finding out more? You can have a look at our state-specific Insurance Licensing guide.

Is the Illinois insurance license exam hard?

The Illinois insurance license exam can be challenging, but it is definitely possible with the right preparation. It’s recommended to focus on studying one exam at a time to ensure a thorough understanding of the material. For more information, you can visit the state’s exam provider at 122 S. Michigan Ave, 19th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603 or have a look at our Illinois Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in Illinois?

To obtain your insurance license in Illinois, you will need to start by completing the required pre-licensing education and passing the relevant state licensing exams for the type of insurance you wish to sell. Once these steps are completed, you can submit your application online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR).

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