How To Become An Insurance Agent In Washington
Getting your insurance license is the first step to becoming an insurance agent in Washington. Life insurance, car insurance, home insurance, or business insurance all require a license to sell in any state.
Follow our step-by-step guide to get your insurance license in Washington.
How To Get Your Insurance License In Washington
Step 1. Which Types of Insurance Licenses Do You Need?
Depending on what type of insurance agent you want to be or what types of policies you need to sell, you will need to choose what type or types of insurance licenses you need to get.
These are examples of the types of insurance policies you can sell with each type of license:
- Property & Casualty Insurance License – Car Insurance, Home Insurance, Business Insurance, etc…
- Life & Health Insurance License – Life Insurance, Annuities, Health Insurance, etc…
Most insurance agents choose to get both of these licenses, but if you will only sell one type of policy then you just need to choose which license fits your needs.
Step 2. Insurance Pre-License Education
After you’ve determined which licenses you need, you must now take your Washington insurance pre-license education courses.
Most folks choose to take their insurance pre-license course online. These courses are created specifically to give you the skills you need to pass the test. The types of licenses you choose (also known as “lines of authority”) will determine which courses you take.
Each line of authority in Washington requires twenty (20) hours of pre-license education. This means that if you wish to get a Property and Casualty license, you must take forty (40) hours of pre-licensing, and for Life, Accident, and Health you must also take forty (40) hours.
You will receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Keep this certificate, as you will need it when taking your exam.
For required insurance pre-license courses and exam prep, StateRequirement recommends:
Step 3. Washington Insurance License Exams
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 line of insurance you wish to carry. Life and Disability (L&D) and Property & Casualty (P&C) lines are combined exams in Washington, so you only have to take two tests if you wish to attain all of these lines of authority: Property, Casualty, Life, and Disability.
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 exams is as follows:
- Life & Disability: $66
- Property & Casualty: $66
- Life: $49
- Disability: $49
- Property: $49
- Casualty: $49
When you show up you must have a photo ID any other documents that the testing facility has asked you to bring.
Both the Life and Disability and the Property and Casualty exams, contain one hundred fifty (150) questions and have a time limit of one hundred ninety-five (195) minutes.
PSI Exams offers content outlines for each of the exams, though there will be changes taking place on March 1st, 2017 (03/01/2017).
Check out our Insurance Exam Guide. It’s extremely in-depth, and will hopefully help you pass the first time.
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.
Note: 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.
You may register to take your exams and find more information on the PSI Exams Washington page. PSI Exams provides more testing information in the Washington Insurance License Examination Candidate Information Bulletin. Keep your PSI Exams score report after passing the exams, as you will need it when applying for your license.
Note: When contacting PSI Exams about your testing, also ask them about their fingerprinting services, as this is your next step.
Step 4. Fingerprinting And Background Check
The State of Washington 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 Washington Department of Insurance at (360) 725-7144, or visit their page on fingerprinting.
Fingerprinting must be completed through IdentoGo. You will schedule an appointment at one of the locations in Washington, and the will electronically record your fingerprint information using LiveScan (as opposed to ink and paper). Many PSI Exams locations can also perform the fingerprinting, so be sure to ask them about this when testing.
The fee for fingerprint services is $49.25. Your fingerprints will be submitted automatically to the Washington Insurance Department.
Step 5. License Application
After you have completed your exams and fingerprinting, the next step is to apply for your license. If you have more than one line of authority that you have taken the education for, be sure to apply for all of those lines.
The fee for an online application is $60. Adding a line later will not cost anything.
The application process is located within Washington’s Online Services account system. You must upload your PSI Exams score report with your application, as it is not automatically sent to the Department of Insurance.
Step 6. Application Review
Once you have submitted your application and passed your exams, 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.
It should take about three to five (3-5) business days after the state has received your background check information to issue your license. The background check itself can take up to fifteen (15) business days but is usually closer to between five and seven (5-7) business days.
After the license is issued, you will receive an email from the state regarding your acceptance.
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 Licensing, What's Next?
Now that you have your license, use the StateRequirement Job Board to find the opening to your new career.
Washington Department Of Insurance Contact Information
Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
P.O. Box 40257
Olympia, Washington 98504-0257
Phone: (360) 725-7144
Fax: (360) 586-2019
Email: Contact Form
Information on this page has been gathered by a multitude of sources and was most recently updated in June 2020.
Any Information on this site is not guaranteed or warranted to be correct, accurate, or up to date. StateRequirement and its members and affiliates are not responsible for any losses, monetary or otherwise. StateRequirement is not affiliate with any state, government, or licensing body. For more information, please contact your state's authority on insurance.
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