Personal Lines License

Written by: Will Bond

Last updated:

Personal Lines License

Are you interested in embarking on a career in insurance? Acquiring a Personal Lines Insurance License should be your first step in this journey.

Throughout this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about obtaining this license — covering everything from the eligibility requirements you must meet to the necessary steps you’ll need to complete in order to kickstart your career in insurance today.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their insurance license exam(s). For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

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What is Personal Lines Insurance

Personal lines insurance is a term used to describe the category of policy types that provide individuals with coverage against any financial losses associated with property damage, death, or injury.

In practice, it’s essentially a sub-category of property and casualty insurance that’s used to differentiate between the personal risks faced by individuals and similar commercial risks that businesses often face.

There are a wide variety of personal lines insurance policies available, though the most common ones you’ll likely encounter include:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Flood Insurance
  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Renters Insurance

Personal lines insurance is typically used to safeguard individuals and their loved ones from expenses associated with these risks that they wouldn’t be able to manage by themselves, which makes basic activities like driving and owning a home financially viable for the masses.

How to Get a Personal Lines insurance License

Now that you have a better understanding of what personal lines insurance is, we’ll walk you through the process of getting licensed to sell it.

It’s important to note that since insurance industry regulations are managed on a state-by-state basis, the specific licensing requirements you’ll need to meet to become a personal lines insurance producer may vary.

With that said, in the sections below we’ve broken down the five general steps you can follow to become a personal lines insurance producer, regardless of the state in which you plan to operate in.

Step 1: Complete a Personal Lines Pre-Licensing Education Course

The first step we recommend taking toward obtaining your personal lines license is to complete the pre-licensing education course of a qualifying and reputable course provider.

It’s important to note that this isn’t always a mandatory requirement. In some states, satisfying these pre-licensing education requirements may be optional, while in others you may be able to skip this requirement if you already have certain qualifications.

For example, the following designations make you exempt from property and casualty pre-licensing requirements in North Carolina:

  • Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI)
  • Associate in Risk Management (ARM)
  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
  • Holder of associate/bachelor’s degree in insurance

However it’s a good idea to undertake one of these courses even where it’s not required. This is because, due to these courses’ many features — including live tutoring, study calendars, and hundreds of practice exams — they represent one of the best means of building your understanding of the material and ensuring you pass your personal lines licensing exam on your first attempt.

However, not just any course will do for this purpose, and so you’ll need to ensure that the course you choose abides by your state’s rules regarding pre licensing education requirements (where applicable).

Recommended Course

Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their insurance license exam(s). For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

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Step 2: Pass Your State’s Personal Lines Insurance Exam

In the vast majority of states, passing a specific personal lines exam will form a central part of the licensure process.

These exams typically consist of 50 to 200 scored questions and last between two to three hours. They’re also commonly divided into two sections: one for general insurance knowledge and another testing you on more state-specific information.

In order to pass, you generally need to achieve a minimum score of 70% across both of these sections. However, there are states where the passing criteria might vary due to the use of a scaled scoring system, like in Hawaii.

Once you pass your state’s insurance exam, it’s crucial that you proceed with the rest of the licensing procedure quickly. This is because in certain states, such as New Jersey, exam scores are only valid for a limited time — which means you may need to retake the exam and reapply for a license if you wait beyond the expiration date.

Note: You’ll need to refer to the insurance producer licensing regulations in your state for more specific information on this exam. Alternatively, you can take a look at our Insurance License Exam guide for a more straightforward breakdown.

Step 3: Ensure You Meet Any Other Licensing Requirements

Each state will have its own specific licensing requirements that you must abide by in order to qualify for your personal lines license.

One of the most common examples of this is the need to undergo fingerprinting. This will typically involve submitting a full set of your fingerprints in-person at either a Fieldprint or IdentoGO center so that a state and federal background check into your past conduct can be carried out.

After these checks have been completed, the fingerprinting service will send a detailed report to your state’s Department of Insurance — which will then make a decision on your eligibility to become an insurance agent.

Outside of this, you’ll need to check if there are any additional licensing requirements you’ll also be required to meet. As an example of this, a number of states (e.g., Florida and Tennessee) also require each licensing candidate to satisfy certain eligibility requirements in order to be able to apply.

Step 4: Submit Your License Application

After confirming that you satisfy any other licensing requirements that may apply in the state in which you plan to operate, you’ll be required to submit your application for a personal lines license.

Normally, this step is completed through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) and will be accompanied by a filing fee that can range between $20 and $150 depending on the state in which you plan to operate.

Be aware that, while this is generally the last step in most states, there are some exceptions to this rule where applications are submitted much earlier on in the insurance licensing process (e.g., Florida and Michigan).

Step 5: Application Review

Once you’ve submitted this application with your state’s Department of Insurance, all that’s left to do is wait. Processing times are highly specific to each state, ranging from anywhere between a couple of weeks and a few months.

In any case, the state will send you an email containing your license number and National Producer Number (NPN) once this review has been completed — so keep an eye out for that!

Note: Be aware that the processing time for your application may be longer than these estimations if the State Department runs into any issues with your background check or is faced with a particularly busy period.

Recommended Course: Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their insurance license exam(s). For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Personal Lines Insurance License FAQ

What’s the difference between personal lines and property and casualty?

Personal lines insurance typically covers individuals and families for their personal property and liability needs — often including policies such as auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and umbrella insurance. On the other hand, property and casualty insurance is an overarching term including both personal lines and commercial lines insurance that covers against the same risks but for both individuals and businesses.

What are personal lines of insurance?

Personal lines of insurance refer to insurance products designed to protect individuals and families from financial loss due to damage to their personal property or liability for injuries or damages they may cause to others. Common types of personal lines insurance include auto insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance, and umbrella insurance.

How can I get a personal lines insurance license?

While the specific requirements you’ll need to meet will vary based on your state, you’ll typically need to pass a state licensing exam, undergo a background check, and submit an application along with any required fees. Even if there’s no required pre-licensing course in your state, we strongly recommend completing one regardless. Note that while this process is largely the same for both residents and non residents, it differs if you’re applying as a business entity or for an adjuster license.

Which insurance license is the hardest to get?

The difficulty of obtaining an insurance license can vary depending on factors such as your individual aptitude for the subject and how long you give yourself to prepare. In general, however, many individuals find the property and casualty (P&C) insurance license to be more challenging to obtain because its exam typically covers a broader range of topics. This is particularly true when compared to limited lines, which cover far less material.

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