How to Get an Insurance License in Tennessee

Written by: Will Bond

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How to Get an Insurance License in Tennessee

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

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

In order to get your Tennessee insurance license, you’ll need to complete the following seven steps:

  1. Figure Out Which Insurance License You’ll Need
  2. Ensure You Meet the Eligibility Requirements
  3. Complete a Pre-Licensing Education Course
  4. Schedule Your Tennessee Insurance License Exam(s)
  5. Request a Fingerprint and Background Check
  6. Pass Your Tennessee Insurance License Exam(s)
  7. 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 Tennessee:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Title
  • Variable Contracts
  • Credit Products
  • Crop
  • Travel, Accident & Baggage
  • Bail Bondsman
  • Legal
  • Title Practice Attorney

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 a Life and Health insurance 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 Tennessee Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Ensure You Meet all Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a Tennessee insurance license, there are certain requirements you’ll be required to meet before you apply, including:

  • Being at least 18 years old
  • Residing in Tennessee
  • Being competent, financially responsible, and having a good business reputation

Once you’ve ensured you satisfy all these prerequisites, you’ll be ready to move onto the next step of the insurance licensing journey.

Step 3: Complete a Tennessee Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

Now, it’s important to note that — unlike many other states — Tennessee 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 4: Schedule Your Tennessee Insurance License Exam(s)

After your pre-licensing training is sorted, you’ll need to schedule your insurance exam, which can be done by heading over to the Pearson VUE website and making an online reservation at least 24 hours before your desired date and time.

If this is your first time using this platform, you’ll be asked to make an account and then be shown step-by-step instructions walking you through the process of how to reserve an exam. You can also make your exam reservation over the phone by calling (800) 274-4957 if you prefer.

In order to book an exam, you’ll need to have all of the following pieces of information on hand:

  • Your legal name, date of birth, address, Social Security Number (SSN), and contact number
  • The official name of the exam you want to take
  • Your preferred date and test center location for this exam

To complete your reservation, you’ll need to pay an exam fee of either $49 or $59 (depending how you want to take the exam) — this fee must be made at the time of booking since payment is not accepted in-person.

Note: For a more detailed explanation of the exam reservation process, check out Pearson VUE’s Tennessee Insurance Licensing Candidate Handbook.

Step 5: Request a Fingerprinting And Background Check

The next step to complete before taking your insurance exam and submitting your license application is to submit a full set of your fingerprints to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

This process, which is completed through IdentoGO, costs $37.15 and will initiate a background check into the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and FBI’s records to confirm you meet the state’s insurance agent regulations.

To organize a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to go to the IdentoGO website and select “Schedule a New Appointment”. From here, click on “Don’t know your Service Code” and then “Department of Commerce and Insurance” and “Insurance Producers” from the following dropdown menus.

You’ll then be prompted to input your Zip Code so that the platform can find the closest fingerprinting location to you. After finishing the registration for a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll be sent an email with a confirmation number shortly.

If you have any difficulties scheduling your fingerprinting appointment, you can quickly speak to a representative over the phone to guide you through this process by calling (855) 226-2937.

To avoid delays, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance recommends completing fingerprinting at least two business days before you apply for a producer license.

Note: Any misdemeanors, felonies, or current criminal proceedings may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. If any of these apply to you, you’ll be required to file your application with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance directly.

Step 6: Pass the Relevant Tennessee Insurance License Exam(s)

After your fingerprints and background check have been processed, you’ll need to take (and pass) the relevant Tennessee 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 life insurance agent, you’ll need to pass the Life exam — which is made up of 68 scored questions and 9 pretest questions divided across two sections.

In Tennessee, all insurance exams are multiple-choice and administered by Pearson VUE.

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 scaled score of at least 70; you’ll find out your results immediately after finishing the exam but will only be shown a numeric, scaled score if you fail.

In the event that you fail an insurance exam, you’ll need to wait at least 10 days before you can retake it again — each subsequent failed attempt after this will require a waiting period of at least 30 days.

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

Step 7: 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 Tennessee, applications are submitted online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) for a fee of $50 (plus a small transaction charge).

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

Alongside the fingerprinting requirements outlined in the steps above, you’ll also need to read through the Fingerprint-Based Criminal History Record Check Policy and submit the one page Fingerprint Policy and Acknowledgement Form (found at the end of this document) to the Agent Licensing Section.

This can be done while, or after, you submit your electronic application with NIPR, either by emailing ce.agent.licensing@tn.gov or faxing it to (615) 532-2862.

Note: Make sure the names you include on your NIPR application and Fingerprint Policy and Acknowledgement Form match each other.

Step 8: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and 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 15 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 an email regarding the status of your license once this review has been completed, so keep an eye out for that!

Note: If you want to print your new Tennessee insurance producer license, you’ll be able to do so through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) website.

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 Tennessee Insurance License

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

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 Tennessee, all insurance producers must complete 24 hours of continuing education (CE) biennially in order to keep their license valid. As part of your CE requirements, at least three credit hours must be spent on ethics courses.

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

Tennessee Department of Insurance and Commerce Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Insurance Division
500 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, Tennessee 37243

Phone: (615) 741-2693

Email: ce.agent.licensing@tn.gov

Website: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/insurance-division.html

License Search: Tennessee Insurance License Search and Lookup

Tennessee Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Tennessee?

Yes, Tennessee insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing 24 credit hours of continuing education and paying a $50 license renewal fee. Failing to renew by midnight on your license expiration date may result in fines, or even license revocation, depending on how late you leave it.

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

The time it takes to obtain an insurance license in Tennessee varies depending on several factors, including whether you decide to use a pre-licensing course and if your background check needs any extra review. Once you submit your application to the Department of Commerce and Insurance, it should be processed within 15 days, though estimation may vary for business entities.

How much does the Tennessee insurance license cost?

In Tennessee, it costs $50 to submit an insurance licensing application through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) and $37.15 to request a background check. However, the total cost will also include the fees associated with the insurance exam for your line of authority as well as your pre-licensing course (if you choose to take one) — both of which can vary.

Is the Tennessee insurance license exam hard?

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

How do I get my insurance license in Tennessee?

After choosing the insurance lines you want and scheduling a state licensing exam, you’ll need to request a background check, pass your insurance exam, and submit an application for your license online through NIPR. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre-licensing education as well. Note that resident licensing and non resident licensing procedures may vary slightly.

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