To become an auto insurance agent, you'll generally need to take some basic insurance courses and pass a national exam -- which you can do either before or after you've been hired by an established auto insurance company. The process varies by state, so the first step is to find out what the requirements are in the state in which you want to work.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners maintains information about each state's requirements; click on your target state on its Map of NAIC States & Jurisdictions to go directly to the insurance commission Web page in your state. Once there, look for information on property and casualty insurance licensing.
States will vary in the amount of pre-license training you'll need to obtain. In Oregon, for example, you'll need to complete 20 credit hours of coursework, while in Louisiana you'll do 40 hours for property and casualty providers. Coursework will cover the auto insurance laws in your state, the general principles of insurance, and other basics for selling insurance to clients. Each state will have a list of approved online and classroom schools; choose one that works best for your budget and projected time frame.
Once you've completed your training and passed the exam given by the training program, visit the website of the National Insurance Producer Registry to register and pay for the property and casualty "producer" pre-licensing exam, covering topics you learned in your training program. If you pass the exam, you'll need to submit a set of your fingerprints to the state insurance commission before receiving your license for that state.
While you can initiate this process on your own in hopes of landing a job, the other way to start is to apply for a job at an auto insurance company. Companies may want you to have a sales background, and some will help guide you through the training and exams before you begin work.
2016 Salary Information for Insurance Sales Agents
Insurance sales agents earned a median annual salary of $49,990 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, insurance sales agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $77,140, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 501,400 people were employed in the U.S. as insurance sales agents.