Becoming a Car Insurance Agent

Become a car insurance agent by pursuing a degree in insurance or finance. On top of college education, you'll need special training to receive your insurance license.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 23, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Starting a career as a car insurance agent could offer many job opportunities and a substantial paycheck
  • There are several steps you must take to become an agent, including achieving a college degree and passing a state-certified exam
  • Once you become certified, you have the option of working for a company or on your own as an independent agent

Most people need cars to maintain their lifestyles, and in order to drive those cars, they are required to have car insurance. This is why it is profitable to become car insurance agents.

Whether you want to work for a company or go into business for yourself, you can achieve a career as a car insurance agent.

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Maybe you are considering entering a specialty line of work but are uncertain what to become: car insurance agent might be the answer.

It is relatively easy to become a car insurance agent compared to many other industries that require special training.

The Necessary Education

Although some car insurance companies will consider people who have less education, they prefer to hire college graduates with a Bachelor’s Degree in insurance, or other number-based areas such as accounting or finance, or the liberal arts.

On top of earning a college degree, you need specialized training to become licensed by taking the insurance course offered by the state in which you live.

Your state’s insurance department can provide you with a list of locations where the courses are offered.

This information can usually be found on their websites.

Most courses are one to two weeks long, but some facilities offer weekend courses that are three to four weeks long so you can take the course even if you have a full-time job.

The course might cover other kinds of insurance, such as homeowners insurance, and you must complete all the course work in order to pass.

Once you complete your state’s insurance course, you must allow the state to do a background check.

It is only after the results come back to show you have a clean record that you can take the exam to become a car insurance agent.

The exam will test your knowledge of the basic insurance concepts and the specific laws of the state.

This basic exam only allows you to sell casualty and property insurance policies.

If you want to sell other kinds of insurance, you will need more education.

Most states let insurance companies administer the exam, which could be given in electronic format or on paper.

If you pass, you will not leave the testing facility without a letter stating you’re certified to sell car insurance.

After passing this exam, a good number of car insurance agents go on to become a Certified Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). You must take ten college level courses, have three years of experience, and follow strict ethical codes to become a CPCU.

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Companies value CPCUs so much that they will often pay for the courses needed to earn this honored status.

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The Job Search

Once you get all the education needed to qualify as a car insurance agent, the next step is to find a job.

Searching for a car insurance position is like looking for any other job, and the same rules apply:

  • Make sure your resume and cover letter are in perfect order as they are the first impression you will make on potential employers.
  • Send your resume and cover letter to many different companies. This increases your odds of getting contacted for an interview
  • If you can’t find a local position and choose to work in another state, “foreign agent” applications allow you to do so without needing to get recertified. Your state insurance department should send them to the other state’s insurance departments. Once those applications are approved, you can start working in other states.
  • When you get called to schedule an interview, prepare to impress the person with whom you’ll be talking. Compile a portfolio of your degrees, certifications, and anything else that proves you’re qualified for the job.
  • Get a list of common interview questions and questions specific to the car insurance field and consider how you will answer them.
  • Research the company and be prepared to ask the interviewer a few questions to show your interest.

Even though you’ve prepared for the interview, you still need to put your best foot forward. Dress to look your best and be mindful of your body language: don’t use informal body language like shrugs.

When answering questions, be clear and concise; don’t ramble on.

The most important key is to make a good impression from start to finish so you will stick in the interviewer’s memory.

Your Career

You might have decided to be a car insurance agent with the intent of working for an insurance company, or you might have planned to go into business for yourself.

Being an independent insurance agent can be a lucrative business, but it’s also a risky one.

If you’re fresh out of insurance school, it’s not a bad idea to try to get a job with a company.

As a car insurance agent, you have the potential to earn as much as $1 million a year, depending on your flow of clients and your work ethic.

For this reason, it is wise for new insurance agents to pair up with big insurance companies for a while. By doing so, you can gain skills and experience before venturing out on your own.

If you work for a big firm like Progressive, Geico or State Farm, you can use their good reputation to develop your own.

Plus, since many companies offer salary pay for the first few months, you’ll be ensured a steady income while you learn the intricacies of the business.

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