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Buying guide for best property and casualty exam prep books

It’s exciting to embark on a new career in the property and casuallty insurance industry. Whether you’ll be selling policies or operating as an adjuster for property and casualty insurance, you might be required to pass the exam, depending on your home state. Between new vocabulary words, concepts, and laws, you have a lot to learn. With the test date around the corner, you should consider a property and casualty insurance exam prep book.

Studying as an adult is different from studying as a child, which is why these books are tailored to different learning styles. Content is presented in a few ways, so it’s easy to find one that suits you. You might prefer conceptual overviews arranged in chapters or opt to challenge yourself with quizzes that mirror real test questions. Once you understand the basics of property and casualty insurance, you’ll appreciate the context of real-life examples included in the prep books.

While you have a lot of information to master, it’s an easier task with the aid of the right exam prep book.

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Take the time to establish an effective study strategy. If you’re a visual learner, opt for a study guide with diagrams, tables, and charts. Reading/writing learners benefit from the reinforcement of notetaking. For a tactile or hands-on learner, a flashcard system is fun and helpful.

Key considerations

What’s covered?

General knowledge: Most of the property and casualty exam prep books cover information contained in the general knowledge portion of the test. Their extensive coverage includes types of insurance, policy coverage, legal definitions, risk, and contracts. The policy overviews discuss property; homeowner’s, commercial, and worker’s compensation insurance; as well as other common policies. While each exam prep book organizes and explains the information differently, each aims to be as inclusive as possible.

State exam: In addition to the general knowledge prep books, you’ll also need to get a state exam prep book. These guides detail the state-specific laws and regulations regarding property and casualty insurance. If you forgo studying the state side of the law, it’s unlikely you’ll pass the exam, because this makes up close to 30% of the test questions in some cases. To stay as informed as possible, make sure your state prep book (as well as your general knowledge book) has a recent publication date so you know the information is current.


Book: Property and casualty exam prep books are most commonly in hard copy. They’re usually 100 to 250 pages each, so if you plan to study on the go, make sure your bag is large enough to hold it.

Flash cards: If you’re not sold on reading a tome of information, you can go the flashcard route. These are ideal if you’re in the phase of your studying where you know the information but need to reinforce it prior to the exam.

ebook: Besides books and flashcards, there has also been a recent rise in exam prep ebooks. Those who are comfortable with e-readers can enjoy the convenience of reading, highlighting, and looking up information without being bogged down by a large book.

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Expert Tip
Focus on mastering the vocabulary and concepts of each chapter before moving to the next. Reach a core level of understanding after each section so you don’t miss critical information that could be relevant to later parts of the book.

Property and casualty exam prep book features


Questions and quizzes: These exam prep guides often include questions and quizzes to level up your test-taking skills. Some are multiple choice and follow the format of the exam, while others are open-ended questions. While the questions might seem vague, their purpose is to facilitate a brainstorming session to help you arrive at the correct answer. Because property and casualty insurance is so complicated, understanding it at a conceptual, relative level is important.

Lessons: Other types of prep guides have detailed lessons arranged in chapter format. While they often include a quiz at the end of each section, the lessons are where you’ll get the bulk of your information. Expect to see explanations, vocabulary sections, and diagrams.

Examples: When you’re studying for your property and casualty exam, you want to see how it applies to real-life situations. In prep books with examples, you’ll get a summary of a story or situation within the context of the concept or lesson. Some people say this is the most valuable type of study material because it illustrates the connection between what you’re learning and how to apply it.

Supplemental materials

Some property and casualty exam prep books come with supplemental study materials. DVDs and online platforms are often available and provide another way to learn the material.

DVDs: Some DVDs feature lessons that address major concepts in your prep book.

Interactive DVDs: These DVDs enable you to take practice tests and, depending on how you perform, find out why your incorrect answers are wrong.

Websites: There are also dedicated online platforms that are accessible with a unique code included with your book. Sometimes they’re only available for a limited amount of time once activated, so make sure you take advantage of the platform while you can.

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Expert Tip
Join online discussion forums geared toward property and casualty insurance. You’ll become more familiar with the industry if you follow a community of established agents and adjusters. If you’d like to connect with others who are also learning, join a community geared toward exam prep.

Property and casualty exam prep book prices

Because property and casualty exam prep books are educational materials, their cost is closer to that of textbooks than mass-market paperback books or hardcovers. Expect to spend between $20 and $50 for one exam prep book. Keep in mind that you’ll have to get two — one for general knowledge and one for the state-specific questions — so you’re total expenditure could be $80 dollars or more.

Inexpensive: At the low end of the range, you’ll find prep books that cost between $20 and $30. These guides tend to be more focused on practice questions as opposed to lesson-based content.

Mid-range: These prep books, which cost between $30 and $40, include both questions and lessons and tend to be much longer than their less-expensive counterparts. You’ll also be able to find your dedicated state exam prep book in this price range.

Expensive: At the top of the range, between $40 and $50, are comprehensive guides that include a combination of questions, diagrams, charts, and test-taking strategies geared toward property and casualty exams.

Expert Tip


  • Find a mentor. As you embark on a new career path, building a relationship with an experienced professional is important. You’ll gain valuable insight and tips that can’t be acquired in classrooms or from books.
  • Schedule study sessions. Studying is an independently driven activity, which is why it’s important to make time for it. Put it in your calendar and stick to your schedule.
  • Improve your computer skills. Insurance careers involve computer use, so up your current computer skills when it comes to software, information management systems, and research. 
  • Create vocabulary flashcards. Write out vocabulary cards of important terms from each chapter. By the time you complete the book, you’ll have a streamlined study guide that fits in your bag.
  • Don’t be late for the exam. You’re expected to arrive at least 30 minutes early to the test site. Since weather and traffic are unpredictable, give yourself an additional 30 minutes to get there just in case.
  • Bring the required materials to the exam. You’ll need your identification, state proof of fingerprinting, and proof of payment for the exam if you aren’t able to pay onsite.
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Wear comfortable and appropriate attire to the test site. Considering the exam is two hours long, find an outfit that isn’t constrictive or distracting for an extended period of sitting.


Q. How much time should I dedicate to studying for the property and casualty license exam?
On average, property and casualty test-taking experts recommend you try to spend no less than 30 to 40 hours studying prior to the exam. They also advise against cramming, because the information could be overwhelming to those who are new to the insurance industry. It’s recommended that you create a study calendar a few weeks or months before the test so you can dedicate adequate time to truly understanding the material.

Q. How long is the property and casualty licensing exam?
You’re allowed two hours to complete the exam, which comprises up to 200 questions. Not every test is identical, which also affects how long your test takes to complete. In addition to general knowledge questions, you’ll also have questions specific to the state in which you’ll be selling insurance.

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