How to Get an Insurance License in Washington DC

Written by: Will Bond

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How to Get an Insurance License in Washington DC

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

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

In order to get your Washington DC 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 Washington DC 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 Washington DC:

  • Life
  • Accident & Health or Sickness
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Variable Life & Variable Annuity
  • Car Rental
  • Credit – Limited Line Credit Ins
  • Crop
  • Travel
  • Surety
  • Bail Bond
  • Managing General Agent
  • Portable Electronics
  • Reinsurance Intermediary
  • Surplus Lines

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.

While there’s no insurance adjuster license in Washington DC, we still recommend obtaining a DHS license if you’re interested in working as an insurance adjuster. You can find more information about this in our Washington DC Adjuster License overview.

Step 2: Complete a Washington DC Pre-Licensing Education Course

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

Now, it’s important to note that — unlike many other states — Washington DC 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 3: Pass the Relevant Washington DC Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant Washington DC 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 will need to pass the Life exam — which is made up of 80 scored questions (plus 10 pretest questions).

In Washington DC, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by Pearson VUE, and cost $75 per attempt. Be aware that you won’t be able to pay this exam fee at the test center, and will instead need to do so at the time of reservation.

On top of this, you’ll also be required to bring two valid forms of ID that contain both your photo and signature (e.g., a government-issued driver’s license or social security card). Make sure you input your name for the exam registration exactly as it appears on these IDs.

To pass your Washington DC insurance licensing exam, you’ll need to obtain a minimum score of 70. If you successfully obtain this score, you’ll be shown a score report marked “pass” immediately after finishing the exam which will also include guidance on how to submit your license application.

If you fail your exam you’ll instead be shown information about how to organize a retake of the exam — note that you won’t be able to schedule this at the test center, and will need to wait at least 24 hours before doing so online instead.

For more information, you can have a look at our Washington DC 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 sending your fingerprints to the Office of the Commissioner and the FBI.

This process, which is completed through Fieldprint, costs $31.50. To organize a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to get in contact with Sheila Johnson-Parker at the following email address: Sheila.Parker@dc.gov.

Note: Any misdemeanors or felonies may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. If you’re worried about this, you can contact the Washington DC Department of Insurance by phone or email for more guidance on this topic.

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 Washington DC, applications are submitted online through the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) alongside one of the following fees:

  • Life: $100
  • Bail Bond: $0
  • Property and Casualty: $100
  • Limited Lines: $100
  • Managing General Agent: $300
  • Reinsurance Intermediary: $100
  • Surplus Lines: $200

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 Washington DC 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 couple of 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 Washington DC Insurance License

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

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 Washington DC, you’ll be required to complete at least 24 hours of continuing education (including three hours of ethics) every two years. If you hold a property and casualty license, you’ll also be required to complete three credit hours of flood insurance in the first renewal period.

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

Washington District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities & Banking Contact Information

Mailing Address:
1050 First Street, Northeast, 801
Washington, District of Columbia 20002

Phone: (202) 727-8000

Fax: (202) 671-0650

Email: disb@dc.gov

Website: https://disb.dc.gov/

License Search: Washington DC Insurance License Search and Lookup

Washington DC Insurance License FAQ

Will I need to renew my insurance license in Washington DC?

Yes, Washington DC insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing 24 credit hours of continuing education (including a minimum of three hours of ethics) and paying the relevant renewal fee. Failing to renew by your license expiration date can result in fines and even the revocation of your insurance producer license (depending on how long you put it off for).

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

The time it takes to obtain a resident license in Washington DC varies depending on several factors, including whether you decide to follow a pre-licensing education course and on how many exam attempts you need in order to pass. Once you submit your application to the DC Department of Insurance and Securities Regulation, it will typically be processed within a couple of weeks.

How much does the Washington DC insurance license cost?

In Washington DC, the license fee to submit an insurance licensing application to the Department of Insurance varies between $0 and $300 depending on the line of authority you’re applying for, while background checks cost $31.10 to request. However, you’ll also need to account for the cost of your state exam ($75), as well as your exam prep course (if you decide to complete one).

Is the Washington DC insurance license exam hard?

The difficulty of the District of Columbia 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 this exam on your first attempt, check out our Washington DC Insurance License article.

How do I get my insurance license in Washington DC?

After choosing the insurance lines you want and passing the relevant state licensing exam, you’ll need to request a background check. Following this, all insurance license applications must be submitted to the Washington DC Department of Insurance. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre licensing education if they want to become a resident DC insurance producer. Non-resident applicants must be in good standing in their resident state to get licensed through reciprocity.

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