If you’re an insurance agent or customer service rep in the insurance industry, you probably know you need to be licensed to sell or even discuss insurance in the state where you live. But, what if you live in one state and work in another? This is a common scenario for people who live near a state border. In this case, you’ll need both a “resident” insurance license and a “non-resident insurance license.” Unfortunately, there isn’t one license to obtain that would license you in every state!
If you plan to work in another state, follow these steps to ensure you have covered all your bases.
- Get licensed in your resident state (if you haven’t already). You may need to take an approved insurance pre-license course (if required by your state) and pass a state exam in order to get licensed, after which you can formally apply for your resident license, get fingerprinted (if required by your state), and pay any fees. Contact your state’s Department of Insurance to find out how to start this process. Note that insurance licensing exams are often administered by a third-party company—for example, in Texas the testing company is Pearson VUE. Take an approved insurance pre-licensing course to help prepare you for the state licensing exam; whether it’s required in your state or not, a comprehensive insurance pre-licensing course, like the courses offered by America’s Professor, can dramatically improve your chances of passing the insurance licensing exam the first time.
- Obtain a non-resident license in the state where you work or plan on working, as well as any additional states where you plan to sell or discuss insurance. Visit the Department of Insurance website for the state(s) where you want to obtain a non-resident license to find out about the requirements and fees. NIPR.com is also a great resource to find this information. We recommend you visit this resource at least once as they have compiled the most information in one place (that we know of) and do a good job of keeping it up-to-date.
What About State Licensing Exams?
If you live in one state and work in another, you may or may not be required to pass a licensing exam in the state where you work, in addition to the state where you live. Contact the insurance licensing department in the state where you plan to work to find out whether you can obtain a non-resident insurance license without having to pass the state exam.
In either case, you will need to apply for a non-resident insurance license in the state where you work after obtaining your resident license from the state you are a resident of.
It can get even more complicated if you sell insurance in multiple states. For example, suppose you’re a salesperson for a large insurance agency that sells insurance nationwide. If your company has you selling auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies in 26 states, you’ll be required to maintain active non-resident property and casualty insurance licenses in all 26 of those states, as well as the state where you work, plus a resident insurance license in the state where you live. That’s a lot of licenses to maintain!
The good news: Large agencies usually have a dedicated person or department that handles licensing for sales agents, customer service reps, and others who are required to be licensed.
More good news: Most states have “reciprocal agreements,” meaning that they will issue a non-resident producer license with few or no additional requirements (e.g. pre-licensing courses, fingerprinting, examinations, etc.) beyond the license application fee, as long as you have an equivalent license in your resident state.
Some states have more stringent requirements when it comes to issuing non-resident insurance licenses, however. Florida, for example, requires fingerprints and a background check before they will issue one. California also requires fingerprints for the residents of around 25 states in order to issue a non-resident license.
What About Pre-Licensing Courses?
Adding another layer of complexity are state requirements regarding pre-licensing courses. Some states require you to complete an approved insurance pre-licensing course prior to taking the state licensing exam or obtaining a non-resident insurance license, while others simply encourage it.
Once you’re properly licensed in both the state where you reside and the state where you work, you can begin selling policies.
America’s Professor Is Here to Help
Navigating the many rules and regulations surrounding the insurance industry can feel overwhelming. That’s why America’s Professor has compiled helpful resources for individuals who are trying to get licensed.
See our State Specific Resources page for more helpful information, and don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable customer service reps with any questions at 1-800-870-3130.
Got a Question?
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If you are moving to a new state and looking to transfer your licenses, get some pointers to get you started here.