How to Get an Insurance License in North Carolina

Written by: Will Bond

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How to Get an Insurance License in North Carolina

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

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

In order to get your North Carolina 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. Submit Your Insurance License Application
  4. Complete a Fingerprint and Background Check
  5. Pass the Relevant North Carolina Insurance License Exam(s)

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 North Carolina:

  • Life, Accident, Health or Sickness
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Medicare Supplement/Long Term Care
  • Variable Annuity & Variable Life Products

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 Health and Life 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 you’ll need to follow a separate process if you want to obtain an adjuster license — which you can find more information about in our North Carolina Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a North Carolina Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

While there are some exceptions to this requirement — such as if you’re a Certified Financial Planner, Certified Insurance Counselor, or a Registered Health Underwriter — all applicants looking to sell any of the insurance lines listed in the previous section will need to complete prelicensing education (PLE).

However, for a PLE course to meet North Carolina’s requirements, it must meet a minimum hour requirement. This is a minimum of at least 20 hours for most lines, except the Medicare Supplement/Long Term Care line, which requires 10 hours.

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.

Note: After completing the required PLE course, you’ll receive an Examination Admission Ticket, which is valid for 90 days. You must pass your insurance licensing exam within this time — or in five attempts (whichever comes first) — after which you’ll need to retake a PLE course.

Step 3: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With the required pre-licensing course out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license. In North Carolina, applications are submitted online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) for a fee of $82 (plus a fee of $50 per line of authority).

Be aware that if you need to make any future changes to your license application, you’ll be required to pay an Amendment Fee of $44 plus $50 per line of authority.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll have six months to complete all the subsequent steps and meet any licensing requirements — failing to do this will result in your application being canceled and you’ll have to start the process all over again.

Note: On top of all of the above fees, NIPR also charges a processing fee of $5.60 for each application you submit.

Step 4: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

After submitting your application through NIPR, you’ll be sent an email containing instructions on how to submit your fingerprints to the NC Licensing Office of Pearson VUE, which North Carolina requires under 11 NCAC 06A.0418 of its Administrative Code.

In this email you should find a link to print an up-to-date Insurance Producer Fingerprint Criminal Background Packet as well as how to submit your fingerprints — which is usually done electronically through Live Scan.

There are numerous law enforcement agencies in North Carolina where you can do this, but if you’re not familiar with any, refer to this list of Live Scan Locations provided by the NC Department of Insurance.

Once you’ve had your fingerprints taken, you’ll need to get the fingerprint form you received by email signed by a law enforcement officer and submit it to the NC Licensing Office of Pearson VUE by fax, e-mail, or mail.

This process costs $38 and will initiate a background check into your past conduct to confirm you meet the state’s insurance agent regulations.

Note: You’ll need to submit your fingerprints within 30 days of filing your application for an Insurance Producer License through NIPR.

Step 5: Pass the Relevant North Carolina Insurance License Exam(s)

After submitting your application and fingerprints, the next step you’ll need to take is to pass the relevant North Carolina insurance license exam.

Within an hour of filing your application through NIPR, you should also receive an email from Pearson VUE containing instructions on how to schedule your exam.

This will usually involve calling Pearson VUE directly and providing the following information in order to verify your approval to take an insurance state licensing exam:

  • Your PLE completion date
  • The school code of your PLE course provider
  • The details contained within this email

You’ll need to take the insurance exam that’s specific to the line you wish to specialize in; for example, if you’re planning to work as a health insurance associate, you’ll need to pass the Accident and Health or Sickness Agent exam — which has 55 questions lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes.

In North Carolina, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by Pearson VUE, and cost $46 per attempt.

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.

If you successfully pass your insurance exam, Pearson VUE will notify NIPR within 48 and 72 hours; NIPR will then update your pending insurance license application.

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

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the North Carolina 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 60 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 a congratulatory email containing instructions on how to print your new insurance license — which you’ll be able to do through SBS Connect within 48 to 72 hours of receiving this email.

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 North Carolina Insurance License

Once you’ve passed all your exams and your licensing application has been approved, you’ll be a qualified insurance agent in North Carolina.

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 North Carolina, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years, three of which must be in the subject of ethics. Property licensees must also complete three hours of CE specifically in flood insurance every four years.

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

North Carolina Department of Insurance Contact Information

Mailing Address
1201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1201

Physical Address:

3200 Beechleaf Court
Raleigh NC 27604

Phone: (919) 807-6800

Fax: (919) 715-3794

Email: ASD@ncdoi.gov

Website: https://www.ncdoi.gov/licensees/insurance-producer-and-adjuster-licensing

License Search: North Carolina Insurance License Search and Lookup

North Carolina Insurance License FAQ

How do I get my insurance license in NC?

There are five main steps to obtain your insurance license in North Carolina: choosing an insurance line, completing a prelicensing education course, submitting your insurance license application, completing a background check, and passing the relevant insurance license exam. Read more about each of these steps in our North Carolina Insurance License article.

How much does it cost to get your insurance license in NC?

The cost of obtaining your insurance license in North Carolina will typically cost around $530, though this can vary depending on the prelicensing education course you choose. Note that the cost may be cheaper if you’re a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist or a Fellow Life Management Institute as you’ll be exempt from the prelicensing requirement.

Can you take the North Carolina insurance exam online?

Yes, the North Carolina insurance exam can be taken online through the state’s testing provider Pearson VUE. You can schedule your exam online at their website Pearson VUE North Carolina Insurance or by calling them. Keep in mind that you can also opt to take the exam in person at a testing center.

How long is a NC insurance license good for?

A North Carolina insurance license is typically valid for two years — after this period, you’ll need to renew it to keep it active. License renewal involves completing 24 hours of continuing education, three of which must be dedicated to ethics. Note that if you’re a property licensee, you’ll also be required to complete three hours of continuing education in flood insurance every four years.

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