How to Get an Insurance License in Rhode Island

Written by: Will Bond

Last updated:

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

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

In order to get your Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. Complete a Fingerprint and Background Check
  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 Rhode Island:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health or Sickness
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Variable Life and Variable Annuity
  • Car Rental
  • Credit
  • Crop
  • Travel
  • Pet
  • Life
  • Settlement Broker
  • Other Limited Line (Surety)

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 insurance adjuster, you’ll need to obtain a separate license — which you can find more information about in our Rhode Island Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a Rhode Island Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

Now, it’s important to note that — unlike many other states — Rhode Island does not actually require aspiring insurance agents to complete a certain number of pre-licensing education hours in order to sit their insurance licensing exam, meaning that this step is entirely optional.

Having said that, completing a course is highly recommended as it can go a long way in helping you pass on your first attempt — which can save you both time and money in the long run.

This is because many of the features that come with these courses — such as live tutoring, study calendars, and hundreds of practice exams — are designed to enhance your understanding of the material, making you more comfortable and confident on the day of the exam.

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 Rhode Island Insurance License Exam(s)

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

We say “relevant” because this will depend on the line you wish to specialize in; for example, if you’re hoping to be able to sell accident and health insurance, you’ll need to pass the Accident & Health exam — which has 50 scorable questions and 5 pretest questions.

In Rhode Island, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by Pearson VUE, and can be taken either in-person at a test center or online with a remote proctor through OnVUE. The exam fee you’ll need to pay varies depending on how you sit the exam, with in-person exams costing $80, and OnVUE exams costing $50.

To schedule your insurance license exam, you can either refer to the PearsonVUE website or call them at 800-274-3739 for more information on available exam locations, dates, and times.

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.

In order to pass you’ll need to obtain a score of at least 70% on your insurance line’s licensing exam. However, this score will only be valid for up to a year from the date of your exam, so make sure to submit an application for a license within this timeframe to avoid having to retake your insurance exam.

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

Step 4: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

The final step you’ll need to complete before you can submit your insurance agent license application is obtaining your Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI) background report from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.

This process, which is completed at the Attorney General’s Customer Service Center in Cranston, costs $5 and will initiate a background check into your past conduct to confirm you meet the state’s insurance agent regulations.

Since this is a walk-in service, you won’t need to schedule an appointment beforehand, just turn up at the following address between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on a working day:

Attorney General Julius C. Michaelson Customer Service Center
4 Howard Avenue (corner of Pontiac Ave. and Howard Ave.)
Cranston, RI 02920

Upon arrival, you’ll need to register electronically by text or using the QR located in the Customer Service Center’s parking lot. After doing this, you should receive a welcome text followed by another message letting you know you can enter the building.

After getting your BCI, you’ll be required to send it to the Department of Business Regulation by email alongside your NIPR transaction number. It’s important to do this — as well as finalize the rest of your insurance license application — within 30 days of obtaining your BCI, as this is all the time it will be valid for.

Note: Any misdemeanors or felonies may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. For questions about how this background report works, be sure to get in touch with the RI Attorney General’s Office by email.

Step 5: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams and fingerprinting out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license. In Rhode Island, applications are submitted online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) for a fee of $120 (plus a small transaction charge).

While you’ll be able to apply from between three to five days after obtaining a passing score, you’ll have up to a year to submit an application for a license. However, you’ll need to retake your exam if you wait any longer than this.

Be aware that if you’ve passed the licensing exams for multiple lines of authority, you’ll be required to submit an application (and pay a filing fee) for each of these.

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the Rhode Island 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 several 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 Rhode Island Insurance License

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

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 Rhode Island, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years, including at least three hours of ethics.

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

State of Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Division of Insurance Regulation
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 69-2
Cranston, Rhode Island 029301

Phone: (401) 462-9520

Fax: (401) 462-9602

Email: DBR.Insurance@dbr.ri.gov

Website: https://dbr.ri.gov/divisions/insurance/

License Search: Rhode Island Insurance License Search and Lookup

Rhode Island Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Rhode Island?

Yes, Rhode Island insurance licenses expire biennially and can only be renewed by completing 24 credit hours of continuing education (including at least three hours of ethics) and paying a renewal fee. Renewals must be completed every two years even if you have a Rhode Island resident independent adjuster license — though in this case the independent adjuster licensing requirements will differ.

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

The time it takes to obtain an active insurance producer license in Rhode Island varies depending on several factors, including the insurance license you want to obtain, how long you need to prepare, and whether you choose a prelicensing education course. Once you submit your application to the Department of Business Regulation, it will typically be processed within a few weeks.

How much does the Rhode Island insurance license cost?

In Rhode Island, it costs $120 to submit an insurance licensing application to the Rhode Island Insurance Division and $5 to request a background check. However, the total cost of obtaining your resident license will also include the cost of the insurance exam for your insurance line as well as your pre-licensing course (if you choose to do one) — both of which can vary.

Is the Rhode Island insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of the Rhode Island licensing exam will ultimately depend on your individual preparation, insurance line (e.g., the casualty insurance producer license), and knowledge of the material. To ensure you pass the Rhode Island insurance exam on your first attempt, check out our Rhode Island Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in Rhode Island?

After choosing the insurance lines you want and passing the relevant state licensing exam, you’ll need to request a background check, and submit an application to the Rhode Island Department of Insurance. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre licensing education as well. Note that this process may vary slightly if you’re a Rhode Island resident or not.

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