Getting your South Carolina insurance license is the first step to becoming an insurance agent in South Carolina. Whether you’re interested in selling property and casualty insurance, life insurance, health insurance, or any combination of those lines of authority, this article has the information you need to get started.
The South Carolina Department of Insurance has a 6-step process on how to become an insurance agent in South Carolina. We’ll walk you through step-by-step; from the license application to insurance test prep, to the South Carolina insurance exam, and beyond.
This guide has everything you need to know to get your SC insurance license quickly and easily.
How to Get Your South Carolina Insurance License
Getting your insurance license in South Carolina is easy! Just follow our step-by-step guide. Be sure to bookmark this page so that you can visit it again throughout this process.
Step 1. Which Insurance Licenses Do You Need?
The first step to getting your insurance license is choosing which licenses you need. The most common licenses new insurance agents get are the property & casualty license (P&C), life and health insurance license (L&H).
The types of insurance products and policies you’ll be selling will determine which licenses you need. Here are some examples of the types of policies you can market with each license:
- Property and Casualty Insurance License – Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, Business Insurance, etc…
- Life and Health Insurance License – Life Insurance, Annuities, Medicare, Health Insurance, etc…
Most insurance agents and producers choose to get both P&C and L&H licenses, but if you plan on specializing in only one category then you don’t need every license.
Insurance adjusters require a separate license. You can find more information on becoming an insurance adjuster here: South Carolina Insurance Adjuster License.
If you plan on specializing as a life insurance agent, then you may also need to hold a certain FINRA securities license.
Step 2. South Carolina Insurance Pre-Exam Education
After you’ve determined which licenses you need, it’s time to begin studying for the South Carolina insurance exams.
South Carolina does not require you to take a certain amount of pre-license credits before testing. This means that studying for your exam is 100% up to you.
Most folks choose to take an insurance pre-license course online. These courses are created specifically to give you the skills you need to pass the test. Others purchase books or other self-study tools to prepare themselves.
It’s wise to take a week or so to dedicate to your study of this exam. If you don’t feel as though you’re a strong test taker, take a little longer, but don’t let it drag out for long. We want you to pass your test the first time you take it, and we know that you can do it.
For South Carolina insurance pre-license education courses and exam prep, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 3. South Carolina Insurance License Exam
The next step after completing all of your pre-license coursework or self-study is to take the insurance exam. You will take one exam for each combined line of insurance you wish to carry. The Property line and Casualty line are combined as one exam. The Life, Accident and Health line are combined as one exam as well.
This is a proctored test, which means that you will be in a controlled environment with a person watching over you. For people who haven’t tested in a situation like this should be aware of this fact, and work on taming their nerves prior to sitting for the exam.
The fee for each attempt of the combined exams is $45. When you show up you must have a photo ID any other documents that the testing facility has asked you to bring.
South Carolina Life, Accident & Health exam is consist of one hundred fifty (150) questions. You have one hundred fifty (150) minutes to complete each test. The minimum score required to pass is 70% correct answers.
South Carolina Property, Casualty, Surety, and Marine Insurance Producer exam is consist of one hundred fifty (150) questions. You have one hundred sixty-five (165) minutes to complete each test. The minimum score required to pass is 70% correct answers.
PSI Exams provides content outlines for each exam. Be sure to study them before you attempt the test:
- South Carolina Life, Accident, and Health Insurance Exam Content Outline
- South Carolina Property, Casualty, Surety, and Marine Insurance Producer Outline
Check out our Insurance Exam Guide. It’s extremely in-depth, and will hopefully help you pass the first time.
Looking for a guide to passing the insurance exam in South Carolina? Check out our South Carolina Insurance License Exam article.
Insurance license tests are intentionally difficult, but not impossible by any means. You should study to the point of comfortability with the information before you attempt the test. Failing the exam isn’t the end of the world, but keep in mind that you will need to pay the fee each time you attempt the test.
StateRequirement recommends that you study for one exam at a time, then after passing, starting on your next line. The exams are difficult enough on their own without confusing information from one line to another. Check out our review of the Kaplan Insurance Course.
You may register to take your exams on the PSI Exams South Carolina Insurance page. For much more information on testing, visit the PSI Exams South Carolina Insurance License Examination Candidate Information Bulletin.
Step 4. South Carolina Insurance License Application
After passing your exams, the next step is to apply for your license. If you have more than one line of authority that you passed the test for, be sure to apply for all of those lines.
The fee for an online application is $25 plus a $5.60 transaction fee.
If you wish to add another line of authority at a later date, you will complete another application, and pay the same fee as the original.
Fill out your online application on the South Carolina NIPR page.
Step 5. Fingerprinting and Background Check
As of January 1st, 2017, the State of South Carolina requires that all insurance license applications provide fingerprints prior to licensing. Giving your fingerprints will initiate a background check. If you have any prior misdemeanors or felonies, this may affect the outcome of your licensing efforts. For more information on this topic, call the Department of Insurance at (803) 737-6160 or email the Insurance Department.
You must schedule your fingerprinting appointment with the IdentoGo. Be sure that they know that you are being fingerprinted for insurance licensing. Use the code: SC920124Z-DOI Producer Licensing/Renewal when prompted.
The fee for fingerprinting is $50.50. When completed, you will receive a receipt and other documents. Send these documents to the South Carolina Insurance Department. The sooner you do this, the faster your background check will go through.
Step 6. Application Review
Once you have submitted your application and have filled all the other requirements, your license application will be reviewed by the state. Your background check will also be reviewed.
If everything is to acceptable standards your license should be issued quickly. If there are any items from your background check that need to be reviewed, it may slow down the process of issuance. If this is the case, the state may contact you to provide context to the issues that they have run into.
After submitting your application, the background check will take a few days to complete. You will not receive any correspondence from the department unless they find an issue. You will need to use the South Carolina Insurance License Look-Up Tool to verify that your license has been issued.
You’ve done the work, put in the time and effort, and now hold the key to your own success! We’re proud of you. Take five (5) minutes and celebrate.
After Getting Your South Carolina Insurance License
Once you’ve passed your exams and completed the licensing application, you are now a licensed insurance agent in South Carolina. A common question we hear is, “I have my insurance license, now what?” Here are a few things you can do or need to know:
- Get a job in the insurance field. Check out StateRequirement’s Insurance Jobs board
- If you’re going to sell advanced life insurance products, you’ll need to have the proper securities licenses. Series 6, Series 7, and Series 63 are the most common among insurance agents, but you’ll need to begin with the SIE (Securities Industry Essentials) exam. Find out which licenses you need with our Securities Licensing Guide
- Every two years, you’ll need to renew your insurance license. Check out our guides on South Carolina Insurance License Renewal and South Carolina Insurance Continuing Education for more details
- Learn how to market yourself as an insurance agent: Have a look at our Insurance Agent Marketing article
- Interested in learning how successful life insurance agents operate? Check out our How Do Life Insurance Companies Make Money article
South Carolina Department of Insurance Contact Information
1201 Main Street, Suite 1000
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 737-6160
Fax: (803) 737-6231
License Search: South Carolina Insurance License Search and Lookup
South Carolina Insurance License FAQ
How long is the insurance license period in South Carolina?
Learn how to get an insurance license renewal here: South Carolina Insurance License Renewal
How long does it take to get an insurance license in South Carolina?
2-8 weeks. The bulk of the time is spent studying for your South Carolina insurance exam. Some people study for as little as one week and feel comfortable taking the exam. We recommend you take whatever amount of time you need to feel comfortable with the material. Check out our guide: How to Pass the Insurance Exam
How much does the South Carolina insurance license cost?
The total cost for your insurance course, application, and exam will be about $375. If you don’t pass the exam the first time, add $45 for each subsequent attempt.
How do I get a life insurance license in South Carolina?
Follow the steps above. The licensing process is the same for all insurance agent and producer licenses.
How do I get a property and casualty license in South Carolina?
Follow the steps above. The licensing process is the same for all insurance agent and producer licenses.
Do I need business insurance in South Carolina?
If you are operating a business based in South Carolina, you probably need South Carolina business insurance to protect your assets and operate safely.