Life and Health Insurance Exam

Every state requires licensure for anyone who will be selling, discussing, or advising customers on the purchase of Life and Health Insurance. Licensing requirements vary from state to state with a formal examination used to ensure a standard level of competence throughout the insurance industry.

The licensing exam consists of two parts: general to life and health insurance overall and state-specific regulations, policies, and procedures.

Basic Requirements

Eligibility requirements to obtain licensing vary by state. Generally, the following are the basic requirements:

  • 18 or older
  • Pass the state licensing exam
  • Application and fees

Additional requirements may include:

  • Fingerprints
  • Clear criminal history report
  • Continuing Education
  • Proof of financial responsibility

Confirm requirements for your state with the insurance licensing department.

Test Design

The exam has two sections: a general knowledge portion, and a state-specific section that covers rules, guidelines, and regulations unique to each state. The test is computer-delivered with a two-and-a-half hour time limit.

The General Knowledge section contains 120 questions. The following competencies make up the General Knowledge section:

  • Types of policies
    • Traditional whole life products
    • Interest/market-sensitive/adjustable life products
    • Term life
    • Annuities
    • Combination plans and variations
  • Policy riders, provisions, options, and exclusions
    • Policy riders
    • Policy provisions and options
    • Policy Exclusions
  • Completing the application, underwriting, and delivering the policies
    • Completing the application
    • Underwriting
    • Delivering the policy
    • Contract law
  • Taxes, retirement, and other insurance concepts
    • Third-party ownership
    • Viatical settlements
    • Life Settlements
    • Group life insurance
    • Retirement plans
    • Life insurance needs analysis/suitability
    • Social Security benefits
    • Tax treatment of insurance premiums, proceeds, and dividends
  • Types of policies
    • Disability income
    • Accidental death and dismemberment
    • Medical expense insurance
    • Medicare supplement policies
    • Group insurance
    • Individual/Group Long Term Care (LTC)
  • Policy provisions, clauses, and riders
    • Mandatory and optional provisions
    • Other provisions and clauses
    • Riders
    • Rights of renewability
  • Social Insurance
    • Medicare parts A, B, C, and D
    • Medicaid
    • Social Security benefits
  • Other insurance concepts
    • Total, partial, recurrent and residual disability
    • Owner’s rights
    • Dependent children benefits
    • Primary and contingent beneficiaries
    • Premium payment delivery methods
    • Non-duplication and coordination of benefits
    • Occupational versus non-occupational
    • Tax consequence of premiums and proceeds of insurance contracts
    • Managed care
    • Worker’s Compensation
    • Subrogation
  • Field underwriting procedures
    • Completing the application
    • Sources of insurability and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA)
    • Initial premium payment, receipt, and consequences of the receipt
    • Application and payment submission for underwriting
    • Delivery of policy
    • Policy explanation
    • Replacement
    • Contract law

The state-specific section has 30 questions. The content of this section varies from state to state, but topics are similar. Content for the state-specific section of the exam may include the following categories:

  • Statutes and rules governing life and health insurance
    • Commissioner of Insurance
      • Powers and duties
      • Records examination
      • Investigation/Notice of hearing
      • Penalty assessment and enforcement
    • Definitions used relating to life and health insurance
      • Certificate of authority
      • Transacting insurance
      • Foreign, domestic, and alien
      • Stock, mutual
    • Licensing requirements
      • Types
      • Exemptions/exceptions
      • Appointment
      • Continuing education requirements
      • License: denial, renewal, and expiration
      • License: termination, revocation, and suspension
    • Marketing practices
      • Unfair or prohibited
      • Agent duties and responsibilities for transparency
  • Statutes and rules for life insurance
    • Marketing and solicitation
    • Policy provisions
    • Group life
    • Credit life
    • Non-forfeiture law
  • Statutes and rules for accident and health insurance
    • Policy provisions: required, optional
    • Medicare supplement
    • AIDS testing requirements
    • Long-term care
    • Small group health insurance
    • Certificate of coverage
    • Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Statutes and rules for health maintenance organizations (HMO)
    • Definitions
    • Evidence of coverage
    • Non-renewal/cancelation
    • enrollment

Registration and cost

Each state has its own procedure to register for the Life and Health Insurance exam. The majority of states have contracted with test facilitators to accept registrations, schedule, and deliver the exam to its candidates. Refer to your state’s licensing board for eligibility requirements and registration method. Most states will utilize an online application and registration format.

Testing fees range from $40.00 (Pennsylvania) to $170.00 (California). In many states, applying for your license and the testing fee are separate. Veterans may have the opportunity to use their educational benefits for the cost of the exam.

Test Day

Plan to arrive at your testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. You will need one form of government-issued identification, an additional form of identification such as a social security card or credit card. Your identification needs to be valid and not expired. Dependent on your state’s requirements, you may have to get your fingerprints taken before or after the exam. No personal items are allowed in the testing center.

Before beginning your exam, you may take a pre-test to become familiar with the delivery method. Once you have completed the pre-test, your time starts, and the exam begins. Breaks are not included in the examination period.

Exam scoring and results

The passing score for the Life and Health Insurance Licensing exam is set by each state. For studying and planning purposes, setting a goal of obtaining at least an 80% on your exam should ensure successful attainment. An example of a passing score is 70% for Texas. Check with your state’s licensing board for the score required to pass. Score reports are provided at the conclusion of your exam. Your report will indicate your pass or fail status, not the percentage correct or the number of questions answered correctly.

How Can I Prepare for the Life and Health Insurance Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: January 22, 2020