How to Get an Insurance License in Iowa

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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How to Get an Insurance License in Iowa

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

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to become an insurance agent in Iowa, 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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Iowa Insurance License

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

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

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 Iowa:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health
  • Personal Lines
  • Commercial Lines
  • Crop
  • Credit
  • Surety
  • Excess & Surplus Lines
  • Property, Casualty

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 worth noting at this point that if you’re looking to work as an public insurance adjuster, you’ll need to obtain a separate license — which you can find more information about in our Iowa Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Meet the Licensing Prerequisites

The next step you’ll want to take toward becoming a licensed insurance agent in Iowa is making sure that you meet all the necessary qualifications.

The Iowa Insurance Division has set forth the following requirements for all prospective insurance agents:

  • Be a resident of Iowa
  • Be at least 18 years of age prior to sitting for the insurance examination
  • Have not committed any acts that are grounds for denial, suspension, or revocation as set forth in Iowa Code 522B

Questions regarding whether or not an applicant is considered a Prohibited Person can be directed to the Iowa Insurance Division at the following number: 515-654-6565.

Step 3: Complete an Iowa Pre-Licensing Education Course

The next step you’ll want to take toward becoming a licensed insurance agent in Iowa is completing a pre-licensing education course.

Even though this is not a legal requirement, completing a course is almost always recommended for aspiring insurance agents.

This is because doing so can significantly deepen your understanding of insurance policies, regulations, and ethical practices, and can thus go a long way in helping you pass your exam on your first attempt.

Additionally, completing a course can be a great way of ensuring that you have the necessary knowledge to operate effectively post licensing.

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 4: Pass the Relevant Iowa Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant Iowa 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 Life exam, which has 77 scored questions (plus 10 unscored questions).

You will have 2 hours to complete this exam, which — like all insurance licensing examinations in Iowa — is administered by Pearson VUE.

Keep in mind that all insurance examinations in the state of Iowa are uniformly priced at $44.

Upon completing an exam, candidates will receive a report marked either pass or fail. Candidates who pass will receive a score report which includes instructions on how to apply for their license.

On the other hand, those who fail will receive a score report that contains diagnostic information, as well as details that relate to the reexamination process.

Note: There’s no limit on how many times you can sit for any given exam. Having said that, it’s important to apply for your license promptly after passing, as your exam results will expire after 90 days.

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

Step 5: Submit Your Insurance License Application

After passing the examination, you will need to allow three to four business days for your results to be uploaded to the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) website.

Once your results have been successfully confirmed, you will be able to submit your application along with a processing fee of $50.

In accordance with section 522B.16B of the Iowa administrative code, persons who have been convicted of crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, or any felony involving dishonesty or breach of trust, will be prohibited from submitting an application.

Having said that, prohibited persons will still have the option of asking for permission to engage in the insurance industry by submitting this Consent to Work in the Business of Insurance form to the state’s Commissioner.

Step 6: Application Review

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

If everything on your application has been filled out correctly, your license should be issued within 10 business days — 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 Iowa Insurance License

Once you have completed all required exams and your licensing application has been accepted, you will be officially recognized as an insurance agent in Iowa.

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 Iowa, you will be required to renew your producer license every three years in order to maintain your active status. To do this, you will need to complete a minimum of 36 credits of continuing education, which must include at least three credits in ethics training.

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

Iowa Insurance Division Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Attn: Licensing
1963 Bell Avenue, Suite 100
Des Moines, IA 50315

Phone: (515) 654-6565

Fax: (515) 281-3059

Email: producer.licensing@iid.iowa.gov

Website: https://iid.iowa.gov/regulated-individuals/insurance-producers

License Search: Iowa Insurance License Search and Lookup

Iowa Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Iowa?

Yes, in order to avoid license expiration, you will need to renew your insurance producer license every three years. This renewal process requires you to complete at least 36 credits of continuing education, including a minimum of three hours in ethics training.

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

The process of obtaining an insurance license will vary from person to person, but will generally take anywhere between three and six weeks. This time frame allows for the processing of your application, scheduling and completion of the required licensing exams, and the handling of all subsequent administrative requirements. Interested in finding out more? You can have a look at our state-specific Insurance Licensing guide.

How much does the Iowa insurance license cost?

The total cost of getting an insurance license in Iowa will depend on several factors. Having said that, you should note that the Iowa Department of Insurance requires a processing fee of $50 per insurance license application to be paid. All prospective insurance producers will also need to pay $44 per exam as part of the licensing process. For more information, you can have a look at our Iowa Insurance License article.

Is the Iowa insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of each resident license exam will depend on your individual preparation, as well on your experience with proctored examinations. Keep in mind that most exams have both a general section — which entails basic insurance product knowledge — as well as a state-specific section.

How do I get my insurance license in Iowa?

Those wishing to become a resident insurance producer licensed in the state of Iowa will need to choose an insurance line of authority, complete a pre-licensing education course, pass the actual state licensing exam that’s relevant to their line, and submit an online application through NIPR.

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