How to Get an Insurance License in South Dakota

Written by: Will Bond

Last updated:

How to Get an Insurance License in South Dakota

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

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

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

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  3. Pass the Relevant South Dakota Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. 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 South Dakota:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health or Sickness
  • Variable Life and Variable Annuity
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Credit
  • Crop
  • 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, it’s instead recommended to obtain a DHS license — which you can find more information about in our South Dakota Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a South Dakota Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

Now, it’s important to note that — unlike many other states — South Dakota does not actually require aspiring insurance agents to complete a certain number of pre-licensing education hours in order to sit their insurance producer 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 3: Pass the Relevant South Dakota Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant South Dakota 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 property insurance agent, you will need to pass the Property exam — which has 75 scored questions and 10 pretest questions.

In South Dakota, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by the South Dakota exam provider Pearson VUE, and can be taken either in-person at a testing center or as an online proctored exam through OnVUE.

Single line exams (such as property insurance, or life insurance) cost $85 per attempt, while combined line exams (such as property and casualty insurance) cost $95 per attempt.

To schedule your exam, you can either submit your reservation online by visiting the Pearson VUE website, or by calling (888) 873-6205. Remember that reservations must be made at least 24 hours before the date and time you wish to sit your insurance exam.

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 standardized score of at least 70. If you’re successful in passing your major line exam, you’ll be required to submit your application for a license within the next 180 days.

However, if you’re unsuccessful and need to reschedule another exam, you won’t be able to do this at the test center — instead, you’ll need to wait at least 24 hours before booking another exam reservation.

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

Step 4: 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 South Dakota, you can apply for your license online through Sircon or the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) alongside a licensing fee of $25.

Applications will open up to you around 48 hours after you successfully pass the state exam for your insurance line(s) of authority.

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 5: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the South Dakota 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 in one to two 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!

Note: If you submit your insurance license application by paper or through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR), you’ll be required to pay to print it.

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 Dakota 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 Dakota.

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 Dakota, you’ll be required to complete between four and 10 hours of continuing education (CE) every two years depending on your insurance line.

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

South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Division of Insurance
124 South Euclid Avenue 2nd Floor
Pierre, South Dakota 57501

Phone: (605) 773-3563

Fax: (605) 773-5369

Email: sdinsurance@state.sd.us

Website: http://dlr.sd.gov/insurance

License Search: South Dakota Insurance License Search and Lookup

South Dakota Insurance License FAQ

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

Yes, South Dakota insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing between four and 10 credit hours of continuing education and paying a $20 renewal fee. If you fail to meet these CE requirements and pay the insurance producer license renewal fee by the date your license expires, it will lapse and become invalid.

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

The time it takes to obtain an insurance license in South Dakota varies depending on several factors, including the type of license you want and how long you take to prepare. Once you submit your application to the Department of Insurance, it will typically be processed within one to two weeks.

How much does the South Dakota insurance license cost?

In South Dakota, it costs $25 to submit an insurance licensing application to the Department of Insurance plus an examination fee of either $85 or $95, depending on your insurance line. However, the total cost of obtaining your insurance license will also vary depending on the number of attempts you need at the exam and whether or not you decide to opt to complete prelicensing education.

Is the South Dakota insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of the South Dakota insurance license exam will ultimately depend on your individual preparation, insurance line (e.g., the life and health exam), and knowledge of the material. To ensure you pass your actual state licensing exam on your first attempt, check out our South Dakota Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in South Dakota?

After choosing the insurance lines you want and passing the relevant state licensing exam and submit an application to the South Dakota Department of Insurance. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre licensing education as well. The South Dakota Division of Insurance website has more information on this process.

Ready for more?

Start Studying

Learn More