Is a 60 amp main breaker acceptable for todays insurance underwriters? As i understand most insurance providers want older homes to be upgrade to a minimum of 100 amp service. I know the home has 200amp service to the main panel which has been upgraded but only a 60 amp main breaker was installed. Or is it just the size of service wires to the house they’re concerned about.
Depends, depends, depends…
Mostly it depends on the insurance company itself.
Some insurance co’s won’t insure houses with knob and tube
Some won’t insure houses with Federal Pacific panels
Some will insure anything, but they are hard to find
Some may give the owner a discount for having the panel upgraded to a new one with AFCI’s
Some may deny coverage for a house with a fuse box service, and may require an upgrade to a new panel with breakers.
Sometimes, the size of the service (service being smaller than 100A) may create problems securing FHA or other specialized mortgage.
But to answer your question directly:
The logic behind an insurance co denying coverage for smaller service size, is that a 60A service is indicative of older service with older wiring that may be deteriorating or otherwise less reliable.
Now, to answer your second question: It is possible to upgrade a service panel to one that is rated higher than the service entrance size (e.g to install a 200A 40/40 service panel on a 60A or 100A service).
**However, if that’s done that way, the main breaker must match the service entrance wire size; So, **if the service entrance was not upgraded, then the main breaker must remain the old, 60 or 100A.
Of course, that is impractical: if you’re upgrading the panel, why not do the service drop along with it?. Unless you have a long underground service lateral and you don’t want to pay to dig up the trench…
All in all, some AHJ’s won’t allow it: you must either upgrade the service and the panel or to leave it alone.
Also, sorry about repeating myself, but to answer your first question: the smaller service size (less than 100A) may indicate older and less reliable wiring in the house, so, understandably, the insurance co’s get apprehensive.
Same goes for houses with the fuse-based service panels, rather than breaker-based.
While one may argue that an average fuse is more reliable than, say an old breaker rusted on the inside, that’s the underwriters’ logic, and it’s hard to argue with them; They make their own rules.
To me this is a red flag that would require closer review.