How to Become an Insurance Agent in Ohio: A Step-by-Step Guide

Becoming an insurance agent in Ohio can be a rewarding career path. Insurance agents help individuals, families, and businesses access insurance policies that provide protection for their health, property, assets, and livelihoods. As an insurance agent, you get to help your clients choose plans that fit their needs and budgets.

If you’re interested in starting a career selling insurance in Ohio, this guide will walk you through the step-by-step process.

Overview of Licensing Requirements in Ohio

To sell insurance legally in Ohio, you must obtain an insurance license from the Ohio Department of Insurance. Here are the basics:

  • To sell life, health, or sickness insurance, you need a Life Insurance License.
  • To sell property, casualty, surety, or other general insurance, you need a Property and Casualty License.
  • Some agents choose to get both licenses to sell a wider range of insurance products.
  • Licenses must be renewed every two years in Ohio.
  • Continuing education is required to maintain your license.

In addition to completing pre-licensing education and passing the state exam, Ohio requires insurance agents to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Undergo a background check
  • Maintain business addresses within Ohio
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility
  • Comply with annual continuing education requirements

Next, let’s look at each step to getting licensed.

Step 1: Meet the Prerequisites

Before you can apply for your Ohio insurance license, you need to meet a few prerequisites:

Age Requirement

You must be at least 18 years old to sell insurance in Ohio.


Ohio requires insurance agents to reside in the state. You’ll need to provide proof of Ohio residency when applying for your license.

Background Check

A background check is required for an Ohio insurance license. You’ll submit fingerprints and authorization for the check when you apply.

Any convictions for felonies or dishonest acts may be grounds for license denial in Ohio.

Financial Responsibility

Applicants must demonstrate proof of financial responsibility, usually by providing a surety bond of at least $1,000. This helps protect consumers in case the agent engages in wrongful acts on the job.

Once you’ve confirmed you meet these prerequisites, you can move on to education.

Step 2: Complete Pre-Licensing Education

Before taking the state licensing exam, you must complete an approved pre-licensing course.

Course Topics

  • Life Insurance License courses cover topics like life insurance basics, annuities, ethics, and Ohio state laws. They require 40 hours of education.

  • Property and Casualty License courses cover property insurance, casualty insurance, ethics, and Ohio regulations. They also require 40 hours.

  • Blended courses cover both life and P&C topics in 60 hours of total education. These allow you to get both licenses.

Course Formats

You can take pre-licensing education through classroom courses, online courses, or self-study programs in Ohio.

Classroom courses allow you to learn from an experienced instructor. Online courses offer flexibility to study anywhere at your own pace. Self-study involves reviewing the course material independently using provided textbooks and materials.

Make sure any program you choose is state-approved. Ohio’s Department of Insurance website provides a list of approved education providers.

After completing all required course hours, your education provider will issue a certificate of completion. You’ll need to present this certificate when you arrive to take the licensing exam.

Step 3: Pass the Licensing Exam

The next step is to pass the Ohio state licensing exam.

Exam Details

  • Life and Health exams have 150 multiple choice questions and you have 180 minutes.
  • Property and Casualty exams have 200 questions over 240 minutes.
  • You’ll take the exam on a computer at one of PSI Exams’ approved testing centers.
  • The fee is $72 for one exam or $129 for two exams.

Scheduling the Exam

You can schedule your exam date online or by phone after completing your pre-licensing education. The exam certificate is valid for 180 days.

Bring your government-issued photo ID, education course completion certificate, and exam fee to the testing center on exam day.

Passing Score

The passing score is 70% correct answers on each exam. But it’s recommended to aim for at least an 80% to pass comfortably.

If you fail, you can retake the exam after a 7-day waiting period.

Once you pass, you’ll receive your exam results at the testing center. The next step is to apply for your actual license.

Step 4: Submit License Application and Fees

After passing the exam, you can apply for your Ohio insurance license right from the testing center or online. Here are the steps:

  1. Complete the application form through National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) at This involves creating a NIPR account and submitting your background check info.

  2. Pay license fees – This includes a $20 application fee plus a $50 license fee ($70 total for one line or $100 total for two lines).

  3. Send additional paperwork – Upload your exam results, course certificate, and any other required documents to NIPR.

  4. Print your license – Once your application is approved, you can print your Ohio insurance license through your NIPR account.

That’s it! With your license in hand, you’re ready to start selling insurance in Ohio.

Step 5: Consider a Surety Bond

As mentioned earlier, Ohio requires insurance agents to demonstrate financial responsibility, usually by obtaining a surety bond.

Surety bonds protect the public if the agent mishandles client premiums or engages in wrongful acts. A minimum $1,000 bond is required in Ohio but amounts up to $50,000 are common.

Many insurance carriers will require agents who want to sell their policies to carry E&O or surety bond coverage of $250,000 or higher.

Shop around to find an affordable premium on the level of surety bond coverage you need. Getting this step done early in the licensing process is recommended.

Step 6: Apply for Appointments with Insurance Companies

Now it’s time to start applying for appointments with insurance carriers. Appointments authorize you to sell specific insurance companies’ products.

  • Research companies – Browse company websites and materials to find ones with products you’re interested in selling.

  • Apply for appointments – Complete each carrier’s application paperwork and any additional training requirements.

  • Get approved – If accepted, the carrier will appoint you as an agent authorized to sell their policies. You can now start taking on clients!

Step 7: Comply with Continuing Education

Maintaining an active insurance license in Ohio requires ongoing continuing education (CE).

  • Agents with Life and Health licenses must complete 24 hours of CE before license expiration every two years.

  • Agents with Property and Casualty licenses need 20 hours of CE each renewal period.

  • At least 3 hours must cover ethics topics for each line of insurance.

Check the Ohio Department of Insurance website for full CE details and approved course providers. Taking CE annually is recommended to spread out the requirements.


Becoming an Ohio insurance agent involves completing pre-licensing education, passing your state exam, submitting your license application, and getting appointed with insurance carriers. It’s also essential to maintain ethics and stay up-to-date with continuing education.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career where you can help protect individuals, families, and businesses, a job selling insurance may be right for you! Follow the steps outlined here to launch your insurance agent career in Ohio.

How to Become an Insurance Agent in Ohio


How much do you make selling insurance in Ohio?

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How much does it cost to take the Ohio State insurance license exam?

The state exam must be taken within 180 days of completing your pre-licensing course, and the cost for the exam is $42 for Life exams, and for Accident & Health or Sickness exams. You can make an exam reservation through the following methods: Online: Make an online reservation at

Is it hard to make money as an insurance agent?

The career of a life insurance agent is lucrative but involves constant hustling, networking, and many instances of rejection before a sale is ever made. Life insurance agents might be given a small salary to get started but are otherwise primarily dependent on commissions to make a living.

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