My responses may not be applicable to you, but it might help some.
In my area if you did Electrical work in a Maintenance position it might count towards experience if you could get a letter from your Boss or HR Dept on Company Letterhead stating your Electrical-related duties and experience.
As far as study materials for the written exam (we also had a practical hands-on exam) I think practice quiestions (lots and lots) can help. Even if you know the answer to something it gives you practice looking up and finding the answers. Familiarity on where to find things is important in an timed open book test.
As far as Insurance goes I think basic minimum required costs somewhere around $400 - $500 per year.
Remember, your situation and requirements may vary.