How to Get an Insurance License in South Carolina

Written by: Will Bond

Last updated:

How to Get an Insurance License in South Carolina

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

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

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Insurance License South Carolina

In order to get your South Carolina insurance license, you’ll need to complete the following six steps:

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Ensure You Satisfy the Licensing Prerequisites
  3. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  4. Pass the Relevant South Carolina Insurance License Exam(s)
  5. Submit Your Insurance License Application
  6. Complete a Fingerprint and Background Check

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 South Carolina:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health or Sickness
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Crop
  • Surety
  • Pre Need
  • Title
  • Variable Life and Variable Annuity
  • Credit
  • Travel

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 South Carolina Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Ensure You Satisfy the Licensing Prerequisites

Before getting started on the process of applying for a resident insurance producer license in South Carolina, the first step you’ll need to take is to check that you’re actually eligible.

According to the South Carolina Code § 38-43-100 (F), there are a number of criteria you must meet, including:

  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Being of good moral character
  • Not have been convicted of a felony, or have committed any other act that would be cause for denial under Section 38-43-130, within the last 10 years
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving deception, or a crime involving finance or insurance, within the last five years

Having confirmed that you satisfy these requirements, you’ll be ready to move onto the next step toward getting licensed as a South Carolina insurance producer.

Step 3: Complete a South Carolina Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

Now, it’s important to note that — unlike many other states — South Carolina 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:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

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 South Carolina Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant South Carolina resident producer 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 and health agent, you’ll need to pass the Life, Accident, and Health exam — which is made up of 130 scored questions and 10 pretest questions.

In South Carolina, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by Pearson VUE, and cost $59 per attempt. Since 2023, Pearson VUE has been the new exam vendor of all insurance licensing tests in South Carolina.

If you want to schedule your state insurance exam, you can quickly and easily complete a reservation online through the Pearson VUE website or by calling (877) 759-5226. Be aware that exam fees will not be accepted at the test center and must be paid up front when you make a reservation.

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.

After completing the exam, you find out how you performed immediately; to pass, you’ll need to obtain a score of at least 70%. While you will be able to register and retake the exam if you’re unsuccessful, you’ll only be permitted to take any state insurance exam up to a maximum of six times in a one year period.

When you obtain a passing grade, be sure to submit your application promptly as this score will only be valid for a year.

For more information, you’ll either need to contact Pearson VUE directly or have a look at our South Carolina Insurance License Exam guide.

Step 5: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams out of the way, you’ll be ready to actually apply for your license. In South Carolina, applications are submitted online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) alongside a license fee of $25.

You’ll be able to submit your application online through NIPR as early as two days after passing your South Carolina licensing exam, and should receive a confirmation email from the Department of Insurance within one business day of submitting your application.

This email will also contain instructions guiding you through the process of organizing a fingerprinting appointment — which is the next, and final step toward getting your resident license.

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: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

Finally, in accordance with South Carolina Code § 38-43-100 (F)(a) and (b), you’ll be required to provide the Department with a complete set of your fingerprints so that they can check the criminal history records of the FBI and SLED and see if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.

This process, which is completed through IdentoGO, costs $51.75 and will initiate a background check into your past conduct to evaluate your qualifications and confirm your eligibility for a new producer’s license.

To organize a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to go to the IdentoGO website and select the option that specifies “SC920124Z – DOI SC Producer Licensing/Renewal” from the dropdown menu — if you don’t know which service code to use.

After your appointment, you’ll be given a fingerprint receipt by IdentoGO that must be sent to the South Carolina Department of Insurance alongside your National Producer Registry number.

You can mail the document to the following address:

Attn: Individual Licensing
South Carolina Department of Insurance
Post Office Box 100105
Columbia, South Carolina 29202-3105

Alternatively, you can email it to agentmail@doi.sc.gov or fax it to (803) 737-6100.

Bear in mind that your license application will be processed as incomplete and denied if you refuse to submit a full set of your fingerprints.

Note: The requirement for fingerprints may be waived by the director if you’re unable to provide them due to a medically certified physical injury.

Step 7: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the South 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 a few 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.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

After Getting Your South 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 South 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 South Carolina, you’ll be required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years, with at least eight hours in each line of authority you’re applying for, and a minimum of 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.

South Carolina Department of Insurance Contact Information

Mailing Address:
1201 Main Street, Suite 1000
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 737-6095

Fax: (803) 737-6231

Email: agentmail@doi.sc.gov

Website: https://doi.sc.gov/354/Licensing-CE

License Search: South Carolina Insurance License Search and Lookup

South Carolina Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in South Carolina?

Yes, South Carolina insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing 24 credit hours of continuing education, with at least eight hours in your line of authority and a minimum of three hours in ethics.

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

The time it takes to obtain an insurance license in South Carolina varies depending on several factors, including the type of license you want, the lines of authority you’re going for, and how long you take to prepare. Once you submit your application to the Department of Insurance, it will typically be processed within three to five weeks.

How much does the South Carolina insurance license cost?

In South Carolina, it costs $25 to submit an insurance licensing application to the Department of Insurance and $51.75 to request a background check. However, the total cost of obtaining an insurance license for prospective insurance producers will also include the cost of the insurance exam for your insurance line as well as extras such as liability insurance.

Is the South Carolina insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of the South Carolina insurance license exam will ultimately depend on your individual preparation, insurance line (e.g., if you wanted to become a life insurance producer), and knowledge of the material. To ensure you pass this exam on your first attempt, check out Pearson VUE’s exam content outlines and our South Carolina Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in South Carolina?

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 South Carolina Department of Insurance. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre licensing education.

Ready for more?

Start Studying

Learn More