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How To Pass Your State Life and Health Insurance Exam

Insurance Agent Development
Mar 17, 2022
minute read
Nectar Team
How To Pass Your State Life and Health Insurance Exam

If you're interested in starting a career in life and health insurance sales, there are a few hurdles you'll have to clear first. The requirements to sell life and health insurance vary by state, but all include the need to earn an insurance license. Research, commitment, and hard work are necessary to earn a license selling life and health insurance, but it's not terribly difficult to do it when you know how to prepare.

Before you go seek out your health insurance license, it is critical to understand exam requirements, how to keep your license active, and tips to help you pass on the first try. Becoming a licensed life and health insurance agent is within reach; just follow these guidelines to meet your goal.

Exam Requirements for Selling Life and Health Insurance

Registration for life and health insurance exams is state-specific. So, step one in understanding exam requirements is to research your particular state. Start by seeking out the department of insurance within any state where you plan on selling insurance.

The life and health insurance exam are one of the many different topics each state department of insurance will offer. The specific exam will test your knowledge of both types of insurance. Passing the exam, as well as meeting other requirements, will enable you to earn your license and begin selling policies. Other requirements to earn a life and health insurance license include:

  • Being 18 years of age or older
  • Holding a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Completed pre-licensing education hours, if applicable for your state

Content of life and health insurance exams

It's important to understand the content of life and health insurance exams before you sit for the actual test. The more you know the exam content, the easier it will be to prepare and ace the test. Life and health insurance exams will test your knowledge in a variety of topics, including a general understanding of both types of insurance. In addition, specific topics you can expect on life and health insurance exams include:

  • Details of life and health insurance policies
  • Annuities
  • Tax issues relating to life insurance, annuities, and health insurance
  • Disability income
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Policy riders impacting life insurance coverage
  • Medical plans, including dental policies
  • Individual insurance for special needs

Each state will present its unique state exam outline. Print this out and use it as your study guide so you can get a handle on the content that you'll need to review.

How To Pass Your Insurance Exams on the First Try

Now that you understand what is necessary to earn and keep a life and health insurance license, how do you go about tackling the exam? The goal for anyone taking a life and health insurance license exam is to pass it on the first try, but that doesn't always happen. Individuals that fail to pass it on the first try likely did not prepare well or gain a thorough understanding of what was ahead of them on the exam. Let's look at the format of the exam, as well as some tips and tricks on how to prepare successfully.

Format of the life and health insurance exam

The great thing about each state's life and health insurance exam is you can choose a date and time. Scheduling options will be dependent on the state’s department of insurance.

All testing takes place on a computer, but you won't need any specialized computer skills to pass the exam. Once you settle in for the test, you can expect between 100 to 150 multiple-choice questions. Again, the questions will depend on your particular state. Tests that combine life and health insurance tend to run a bit longer.

Passing score and passing rate

To pass each state life and health insurance exam, you need to earn a score of 70% or higher. A score of 70 is as good as a perfect score of 100 when it comes to earning a license. If you score below a 70, though, you'll need to take the exam again. 

The passing rate will vary depending on the test you take and the state you are within. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) publishes data on pass rates by exam and by state. Generally speaking, the pass rate for life and health insurance exams hovers around 60% to 70%. 

The study recipe for success

The best method is to be formulaic in your approach to studying for the life and health insurance exam. Most agents will not succeed if they just read a book, only work on questions, or try to cram all information in at the end. Instead, be much more deliberate in your approach. 

The best approach to passing your life and health insurance license exam on the first try is to study, practice questions, evaluate, and repeat.

  • Study: There are many different ways you can study and prepare yourself for each state life and health insurance exam. Prep courses are available, as well as a series of study books that come complete with practice questions. Whatever method you go with, be sure to read and consume as much information as possible.
  • Practice questions: With new knowledge, it is time to see how you apply it to the questions on the exam. Practice question banks will be available through prep courses, as well as with study guides for each state’s exam. Taking practice questions based on each exam topic can help you see how well you're retaining information.
  • Evaluate: Are there specific areas of the life and health insurance exam topics where you are strong? Are there areas where you're still weak? Evaluate the results of your studying and practice questions to determine where you need to further hone your skills and knowledge.
  • Repeat: Now that you know your weak areas, focus on them with additional studying and further practice questions until you see improvement.

Decide on a target date and complete a practice exam

Decide on a target date for your exam. The flexibility that states offer allows you to set a date and prepare it in a way that works for you. Most individuals will take between 35 to 40 hours to fully prepare for their exam. The length of time you need to prepare will depend on how many hours each day you can commit. It's possible to schedule the exam two weeks out and get yourself ready if you can commit the study hours. If you're working a full-time job and have other commitments, though, you may need more time.

When you decide on your target date, strive to take a practice exam or two before the test date. Attempt to simulate the testing environment as much as possible, putting yourself in the mindset of how it will be on test day. Taking practice tests will also enable you to gain confidence and address any lingering problem areas.

How Often Do You Need to Renew Your License?

When you earn a life and health insurance license, it doesn't mean you're certified to sell insurance forever. You'll need to keep up with licensing and renewal requirements. When you earn your initial license, it will have an expiration date. Generally speaking, an insurance license will need renewal every three years. In order to continue as an agent without interruption, you must be sure to renew your license before it expires.

What are the steps to renew your license?

The process for renewing your life and health insurance license is simple, as long as you renew it before it expires. Once it expires, the process can get more complicated.

In many cases, states will require you to complete continuing education hours before you can renew your life and health insurance license. You can usually meet this continuing education requirement through traditional training or professional development courses that will keep you updated on changes in the industry.

When you have your documentation ready, you need to send it in with your renewal application. Each state will have applications that you can complete by paper or online. When you apply, you'll also need to include the renewal fee for your license.

Pursue Your License Today

It takes hard work and discipline to pass the state life and health insurance exams and launch your career as an insurance agent. But anyone can do it with the right preparation and focus, along with a little practice. Before you embark on your life and health insurance journey, be sure you know what's required so you can set yourself up for success. 

This article reflects the features of Nectar as of the date of publication. Features are subject to change at any time. This article is meant for informational purposes only, it is not a guarantee that using Nectar will help you achieve specific business or financial results and is not intended to serve as the sole recommendation for any business financial decisions.


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