Which is Harder: Property and Casualty or Life and Health Insurance Licenses?

Deciding whether to pursue a career selling property and casualty or life and health insurance is a big decision. Many prospective insurance agents wonder which license exam is more difficult and which career path offers the best opportunities. This comprehensive guide examines the key differences between property/casualty and life/health licenses to help you determine the best fit for your goals and abilities.

An Overview of Property/Casualty and Life/Health Licenses

The property and casualty license allows you to sell policies that insure homes, cars, businesses and other assets against loss and damage. This includes popular lines like auto, homeowners and commercial insurance.

The life and health license covers policies like life insurance, long-term care and annuities. You can also sell health insurance like major medical, disability and Medicare supplements with this license.

Some key facts:

  • Most states require you to pass one exam for each license. Some allow a combo exam.
  • You can obtain both licenses to sell all lines of insurance.
  • The license exams test your understanding of general insurance concepts plus state-specific laws.
  • You must pass an exam for each state where you want to do business.

Now let’s compare the two license types in more detail.

Exam Difficulty and Pass Rates

State insurance exams are challenging. You must demonstrate a solid grasp of many insurance principles and regulations to pass. However, life and health exams are generally considered more difficult than property and casualty.

Here are some key factors:

  • More complex policies: Life and health policies like long-term care and major medical tend to be more complicated than property/casualty policies. There are more clauses and exclusions to understand.

  • Higher fail rates: One study by Snap Insurance Licensing found an average fail rate of 43% for life and health exams vs. 33% for property/casualty.

  • More definitions: An analysis of past exams showed life/health tests cover more insurance terminology you’ll need to memorize.

  • Tougher math: You’ll encounter more challenging math on life/health exams as you calculate costs, cash values and benefits.

While the life and health exams pose a stiffer challenge overall, difficulty varies individually. Your background and abilities will determine which test seems easier for you.

Exam Content and Structure

The table below summarizes key content areas covered on each exam:

Property and Casualty Life and Health
Basics of property insurance Basics of life insurance policies
Homeowners and auto policies Types of life insurance
Commercial policies Life insurance pricing and underwriting
Liability concepts Annuities and retirement planning
Loss exposures Health insurance fundamentals
Risk management Disability insurance
Policy forms and provisions Long-term care
Endorsements Ethics and regulations

You can expect 100-150 multiple choice questions on each exam. They will test your grasp of general insurance concepts as well as state-specific regulations.

Property/casualty exams tend to be more focused on calculating coverage amounts, limits, deductibles and premiums. Life/health tests require analyzing more complex policies with many variables and exclusions.

Career Opportunities and Earning Potential

The career path you choose will significantly impact your work duties and earning potential. Consider these key differences:


  • Sell mainly to businesses and homeowners
  • Opportunity to specialize in commercial lines
  • Mostly help with risk management and asset protection
  • Average salary around $60,000 for new agents


  • Sell mainly to individuals and families
  • More involved with financial planning
  • Help protect income and prepare for retirement
  • Average salary around $45,000 for new agents

These are generalizations. Much depends on the employer, product mix and your sales abilities. However, business insurance does provide greater income potential on average.

Which is the Right Fit for You?

Now that you understand the key differences in difficulty, content and career paths, think about which license best aligns with your talents and interests.

Considerations for Property/Casualty

This path may be the better choice if:

  • You’re good at assessing risks and explaining coverages.
  • You enjoy working with business owners and high-value assets.
  • You excel at calculating premiums, limits and deductibles.
  • You want to specialize in commercial insurance.
  • You prefer tangible products like homes and cars.

Considerations for Life/Health

This path may be better if:

  • You enjoy analyzing complex policies like health plans.
  • You’re skilled at retirement planning and long-term financial strategies.
  • You excel at the math required for pricing life insurance and annuities.
  • You want to help families protect their health and income.
  • You take satisfaction in selling life insurance and long-term care.

How to Pass the Exams

Whichever path you pick, smart preparation is key to passing the licensing exams. Consider these tips:

  • Study approved prelicensing materials and resources for your state.
  • Focus on mastering definitions and mathematical concepts.
  • Choose proven exam prep providers to aid your studies.
  • Learn state-specific regulations thoroughly.
  • Take practice exams to identify weak areas.
  • Get help from an experienced insurance mentor.

With commitment and rigorous preparation, you can pass these challenging licensing exams on the first attempt. Identify the insurance career that best fits your abilities and interests. Then pursue the proper license to get started on a rewarding insurance sales career.

Summary of Key Differences

  • Life and health insurance licenses require passing a more difficult exam overall compared to property and casualty.
  • Life/health exams test expertise on more complex policies with multiple variables.
  • Property/casualty exams involve more calculations of coverage amounts, limits and deductibles.
  • The life/health path focuses on financial planning and income protection products.
  • Property/casualty agents work more with businesses and physical assets.
  • Consider your skills, interests and earnings goals when choosing a career path.
  • Passing these challenging licensing exams requires rigorous preparation and commitment.

Why Property and Casualty License is Hard to Get?


Which insurance license makes the most money?

While there are many kinds of insurance (ranging from auto insurance to health insurance), the most lucrative career in the insurance field is for those selling life insurance.

What is the difference between property and casualty insurance and life and health insurance?

While P&C insurance includes many specific types of insurance, it does not generally include health or life insurance. Health and life insurance only cover the insured individual, not any property damage they own or liability for damage to others.

Is property casualty insurers a good career path?

If you are an outgoing self-starter with an eye for detail, working as an agent for a property and casualty insurer may be a good career path. Insurance sales agents help customers understand insurance coverage, sift through plans and find the right fit.

What is the passing score for the PA Life and Health Insurance exam?

The minimum score to pass these exams is 70%. For more information, check out the PSI Pennsylvania Licensing Examination Candidate Information Handbook. Check out our Insurance Exam Guide.

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