How To Become An Insurance Agent

As Seen In

logo of wsj
logo of wsj
logo of business-insider
logo of business-insider
logo of cnn
logo of cnn
logo of fatherly
logo of fatherly
logo of nbc
logo of nbc

Table Of Contents

Have you ever wondered how your insurance agent calculates your car insurance rate? What about life insurance? If you’d like to help people, sell products, and do a service that can help people in times of trial, you might want to learn how to be an insurance agent.

There are many different types of insurance and different ways to approach it as a career. Here’s what you need to know.

If you are interested in becoming an insurance agent, start your search on ZipRecruiter! ZipRecruiter is free and you can easily filter your job search based on location, salary and more!

get started with ziprecruiter

What Is An Insurance Agent?

Insurance agents sell a variety of insurance to companies and individuals. They can represent one or more companies, but their main focus is to sell insurance policies. They often receive pay on a commission basis, although there can be other pay plans.

The median salary for an insurance agent is around $55,000 a year, including bonuses. But you can make considerably more if you are good at selling.

Types Of Insurance Agents

There are as many insurance agents as there are types of insurance: Health, vision, dental, auto, life, business, malpractice, et cetera. If you can insure it, an agent is willing to sell the insurance.

In addition to the different insurance products, there are two types of insurance agents: Captive and Independent Insurance Agents.

  • Captive agents: These insurance agents work for one company and only sell their insurance products. If you call up an insurance company and ask to speak to an agent, you’re likely to be talking to a captive agent. This agent will only sell you that company’s product.
  • Independent Insurance Agents: These agents don’t work for a specific insurance agency. They represent different companies and different products. This type of agent can help customers find what is best for them because they get paid if you buy from any company they represent. Sometimes these agents own their own companies and contract with a variety of insurance companies to sell their products.

There are advantages to being both types of agents. If you’re a captive agent, you can focus on the products and become a true expert. If you are independent, you need a wider knowledge base, but you can give your clients additional options.

How To Become An Insurance Agent

1. Decide what type of insurance agent you want to be

To get started, first determine what type of insurance agent you want to be. As we mentioned above, there are captive or independent agents.

If you are unsure which route to take, you may consider chatting with agents of both types to see which option may be the best fit for you.

2. Get licensed or start training

An insurance agent needs to be licensed by the state, but the good news is many companies will help you with your training and certification. You can obtain these licenses on your own, of course, by enrolling in classes and taking the test. If you are already licensed, you have a better chance of finding a job in the field.

Legally, you only need a high school diploma to become an insurance agent, but many companies prefer that you have a college degree. An understanding of business, statistics, and finance can be helpful in understanding and explaining products to consumers.

Join The Break Community

3. Update your resume

Now that you have started training or have obtained your license, it’s time to update your resume. You want to make sure that your resume accurately reflects you and your experience. If you need help with your resume, we recommend working with a resume writing service.

Resume writing services are very affordable and help you make sure your resume is not holding you back from any job opportunities. Check out our guide to the best resume writing services to learn more.

4. Apply for jobs

You can apply for a job with or without a license, but you’ll have more doors open to you if you already have a license.

Companies look for candidates that can understand the products, are good at communicating, and are willing to work independently. Many jobs in the insurance field are actually contract positions where you are technically self-employed. If you’re applying for a job as an insurance agent, make sure you ask whether this is a contract position (1099) or an employee position (W2). If it’s a contract position, you will be paying self-employment taxes and cover your own benefits, so make sure you negotiate a higher pay rate.

Insurance Agent Skills

If you want to be an insurance agent, you’ll need various skills. For example:

  • Math: Insurance is all about dollars and cents, so it makes sense that a good insurance agent understands numbers.
  • Statistics: Actuaries set rates for insurance based on statistical probabilities. If you want to be a successful insurance agent, a strong understanding of statistics can help you and help your customers.
  • Communication: While there are technical aspects to this job, you are primarily a salesperson with a complex product. You need to be able to communicate with clients–listen to their needs, and find the best product for them.
  • Computer skills: There is a lot of computer work involved in being an insurance agent. You need to be comfortable with that.
  • Attention to detail: The decisions you help clients make today will not become apparent until years later. It’s critical that you can pay attention to the small details so that your clients have the plans they need.

Where To Find A Job As An Insurance Agent


Currently, there are over 170,000 insurance agent jobs posted at ZipRecruiter, so if you’d like to be an insurance agent, you can probably find something that fits your needs. Some of these jobs can be done from home as well, making it a great place to start if you’re looking to work from home.

As a job seeker, you can use ZipRecruiter for free. Get started today with ZipRecruiter!

get started with ziprecruiter

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is it hard to make money as an insurance agent?

Like any sales job, it depends on how good you are at it and how hard you are willing to work. It is possible to make good money selling insurance, but you will have to work for it.

What are the qualifications to be an insurance agent?

You need to be licensed, which requires classes and tests. But to take the classes, you just need a high school diploma and the desire to be an insurance agent. Of course, having a solid understanding of math, business, and sales help you be a good agent.

Can insurance agents make millions?

Sure, but most people won’t. The average insurance agent earns around $55,000 a year.

Do you have to be good at math to be an insurance agent?

Yes. Insurance agents work with math and numbers all day long. It’s important that agents understand numbers and can work with computers as well. You’ll also need to pay attention to details and work well with people. It requires a well-rounded individual.

The Bottom Line

If you want to become an insurance agent, there is a job waiting for you. You can find this job on ZipRecruiter and start your path by helping people insure the things that matter to them.