How to Get an Insurance License in Washington

Written by: Will Bond

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How to Get an Insurance License in Washington

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

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

In order to get your Washington State 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 State Insurance License Exam(s)
  4. Submit Your Insurance License Application
  5. 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 Washington State:

  • Life
  • Disability
  • Property
  • Casualty
  • Personal Lines
  • Credit
  • Surety
  • Variable Life and Variable Annuity
  • Travel

While there are a large number of different licenses to choose from, the vast majority of insurance producers 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, you’ll need to obtain a separate license — which you can find more information about in our Washington State Adjuster License overview.

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

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

Now, it’s important to note that, as of July 23, 2023, aspiring insurance agents in Washington State are no longer required 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 Washington State Insurance License Exam(s)

After completing your pre-licensing education course, you will need to take (and pass) the relevant Washington State 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 and casualty insurance producer, you will need to pass the Property and Casualty exam — which has 150 scored questions and lasts 195 minutes.

In Washington State, all insurance exams are multiple-choice, administered by PSI, and cost either $35 (for single line tests) or $52 (for combined line tests).

When looking to schedule your insurance exam, you can either do so online through the PSI Exams website or over the phone by calling (855) 205-5825. You’ll also have the option of taking the exam at a PSI testing center in Washington or remotely through an online proctored 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.

You’ll need to obtain an overall score of at least 70% in order to pass your insurance exam, after which you’ll have up to 180 days to satisfy all remaining requirements and submit an application.

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

Step 4: Submit Your Insurance License Application

With your exams out of the way, you’ll need to apply for your license before having your fingerprints taken. In Washington State, applications are submitted online through the Office of the Insurance Commissioner website for a fee of $60 for full line licenses and $25 for limited lines licenses.

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: Complete a Fingerprinting And Background Check

The final step you’ll need to complete in order to obtain a Washington State insurance agent license is to submit your fingerprints electronically to the WA State Patrol, who will then forward the results to the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s licensing unit.

This process, which should be completed at one of IdentoGO’s 30 locations in Washington, costs $49.25 and will initiate a background check into your past conduct to confirm you meet the state’s insurance agent regulations.

To organize a fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to head over to the IdentoGO website or speak to them over the phone by calling (888) 771-5097.

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

Step 6: Application Review

And that’s it! After satisfying all the other requirements and submitting a license application to the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner 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!

Note: If you’re curious about the progress of your application, you can track its status on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s 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 Washington State 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 State.

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 State, you’ll be required to complete at least 24 credit hours of continuing education — with at least three hours in ethics — in order to be able to renew your license.

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

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner Contact Information

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 40255
Olympia, Washington 98504-0255

Physical Address:
5000 Capitol Blvd., SE
Tumwater, WA 98501

Phone: (360) 725-7144

Fax: (360) 586-2019

Email: Contact Form

Website: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/producers

License Search: Washington Insurance License Search and Lookup

Washington State Insurance License FAQ

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

Yes, Washington State insurance licenses expire every two years and must be renewed by completing either 24 credit hours of continuing education (with at least three hours in ethics courses) and paying a renewal fee of either $20 (for limited lines licenses) or $55 (for combined lines licenses).

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

The time it takes to obtain a Washington insurance license varies depending on several factors, including the type of license you want and how long you take to prepare for the state exam. Once you submit your application to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, it will typically be processed within a couple of weeks.

How much does the Washington State insurance license cost?

In Washington State, it costs either $25 or $60 to submit an insurance licensing application to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner and $49.25 to request a background check. However, the total cost of obtaining your insurance producer license will also include the cost of the insurance exam for your insurance line as well as your pre-licensing education course (if you decide to take one).

Is the Washington State insurance license exam hard?

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

How do I get my insurance license in Washington State?

After choosing the insurance lines you want and passing the relevant state licensing exam remotely or at a PSI test center, you’ll need to request a background check and submit an application to the Washington Office of Insurance Commissioner. While not required, we also recommend our readers to complete pre-licensing education as well.

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