Ridiculous Insurance Questions

Is it just me, or are we all finding that insurance companies are asking ridiculous questions of their clients’ of their new (resale) home purchase?

Today, I had a client call me in tears because the insurance broker told her that they would not consider her for insurance (or perhaps charge a premium) if she could not provide the **exact **date of the installation of her electrical system and supply plumbing.

An older house (50+ years) all copper wiring, no K+T, a few ungrounded outlets. All copper supply plumbing. 3/4 inch municipal supply.

The broker said that the home inspector should be able to date every component to the year.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve come across this.

It has been going on down here for years. Google 4-point inspections.

An insurance agent called me about an inspection I performed wanting me to go back and check the attic for huricane clips. I explained that they are not required in alberta but as ussual she would not listen. I called my client and told her to find a different insurance company.

When insurance co start asking for ridiculous information it is because they do not want to sell you the insurance. Do not waste your time go to somebody else.
Hurricane clips? So far as I know there has never been a hurricane in Alberta. We have have a couple of tornadoes but that’s it.
By the way. The Canadian electrical code calls for a 60 amp main breaker if the house has less then 861 sq ft. The insurance co is out of line when they demand 100 amp for these smaller hoses.

By the way, the CEC does not “call for” a 60 amp entrance for this size of home…

Section 8-200 Single dwellings

(1) The minimum ampacity of service or feeder conductors supplying a single dwelling shall be based on the greater of item (a) or (b) :

(a) (i) to (vi) (are basic load calculation rules and give you the calculated total load which may dictate the entrance size- my edit)


(b) (ii) 60A where the floor area, exclusive of basement floor area, is less than 80 sq m (861 sq ft)

In an area not served by cheap gas, a smaller home such as this may be all-electric. If it has the full set of electric appliances- stove, dryer, DHW and electric heat- the calculated ampacity is 90 amps… therefore a 100 amp service is needed!!!

[quote=Brian A. MacNeish;

60A where the floor area, exclusive of basement floor area, is less than 80 sq m (861 sq ft)


What part of this statement do you not understand?


Electrical Safety Authority
4-12-19 Minimum electrical service size for new home?

Question What is the minimum size electrical service required by the Code for the new home I am having built?
Answer It depends on the size of the home and the type and size of electrical loads associated with it.
Examples of electrical loads that will influence the minimum service size are large electric appliances such as an electric stove, an electric clothes dryer, electric water heating, electric hot tub, electric space heating, air conditioning, etc. A qualified electrical contractor can do a load calculation to determine the minimum electrical service requirements.
The minimum size of electrical service for single dwellings of less than 80 sq m (860 sq ft) is the greater of either 60 amps or the calculated load and for single dwellings of 80 sq m and above is the greater of 100 amps or the calculated load.
It is recommended that the installed service be large enough to accommodate the calculated load plus have additional capacity for future electrical needs.

Rule 8-200.
Ontario Electrical Safety Code 24th Edition/2009.


Its gotten to the point were insurers will be demanding all older housing to be upgraded to current building codes in order for them to insure the house.

Insurers are acting as a code authority, even though the public authorities contradict what the insurers are telling the public.

Trying to reason with an Insurance Company is like trying to talk to Brian MacNeish they are always correct .
Better to just walk away from both .

Insurance could care less what the code says .
I did a pristine little home about 700 sq feet last year Gas stove gas fire place for heat Gas dryer and a 60 amp Sq D. service .
Nothing serious wrong move in clean .
No insurance would give her coverage till she upgraded to a 100 amp service .

Unfortunately Roy and Ray you are both right.
The government does not do their duty and all to often lets the insurance companies do their dirty work for then.

Vern said:
“By the way. The Canadian electrical code calls for a 60 amp main breaker if the house has less then 861 sq ft. The insurance co is out of line when they demand 100 amp for these smaller hoses.”

You made a blanket statement as if it was the only option/requirement for a home of 80 sq meters (861 sq ft) or less, excluding basment area. You then run down insurance companies for asking for a larger entrance when they may be (1) correct in that the load calculation requires >60 amps or (2) they are from experience (loss statistics) requiring the 100 amp service as folks keep adding to the existing small panel.

From ESA in Ontario: “It is recommended that the installed service be large enough to accommodate the calculated load plus have additional capacity for future electrical needs.”

Anyways, your blanket statement is misleading, especially to newbies and others not familiar with the CEC (are you?) and calculation of demand factors/loads. They may park that incorrect statement of “fact” in their minds (as it was given out by a CMI) and incorrectly inform someone later.

There are 2 options but firstly section (a), a load calculation, must be done and then choose!!! An experienced, current electrician could have a 5 minute look at the place and give a correct answer but what about the majority of those on the boards?

Do you still believe that the small all-electric home I modeled should be served by a 60 amp entrance because it says so in 1(b) of section 8-200??


The problem is that there are many homes with 100 amp service regardless of sq. footage which function fine with that service because the stove, hot water tank are gas, and the panel has been upgraded from fuses to breakers.

Besides it is most likely, at least explained by electricians, that not all lights, plugs and appliances will be on all at the same time.

The other issue, insurance folks sit in offices, and from what I can ascertain haven’t a clue about most building systems. For instance I had an insurer tell my client that a cottage built on concrete piers on granite bed rock (Cdn Shield) was not acceptable for insurance purposes! The cottage was inspected and approved by the local building department!

After further discussion the insurers backed down when challenged and when it was pointed out that the building was approved by the local jurisdiction.

The insurance companies here are out of line on alot of issues, for many smaller homes or mobiles I agree that 60 amps will be sufficient but the insurance may and probably will give the new owner 60-90 days to upgrade or cancel, same with knob and tube. I recently did one with K&T, it was as good as the day it was installed, buyer talked to 7 comapanies everyone said the same thing…upgrade. They are also basing your premiums here on: oil heat, credit score, number of sump pump failures in you postal code or neighbourhood, street etc. How close you have fire hydrant or live from fire hall, I am 1 mile from mine but it doesn’t count because it’s volunteer even though they fill the pumper less than half mile from my house from a creek that feeds my ponds. Do some research through cbc’s marketplace on home insurance and co-operators and check out some of woes people have with them. Bottom line, if you want insurance you will do it their way. We just need to sure to let buyers know that 60 amps, K&T etc. just are not accepted by insurance companies no matter what our opinon on the system is. Actually a few lenders are not keen on 60 amp too.


I live a mile or so from our volunteer fire department and was given an insurance break because our fire department has met a response time that meets or exceeds some standard set by the insurance industry.

Also dependent on where one lives insurers for example will want an ESA inspection for aluminum or k&t and dependent on those findings will insure the house.

The older residential section of Georgetown is all wired with aluminum and no one is not able to get insurance provided the house is inspected by ESA and any upgrades recommended are instituted.

Insurance companies are cutting their losses by reducing the number of client that fall into the risk pool. One of the issues is that often they are asking the wrong questions, attempting to identify the risk pool. No doubt these questions are based on an analysis of insurance claims by means of term identification assessing risk according to some algorithm. For example, the assessment would identify “fuse panel” as a risk factor as would be “60 amp”, so a claim that had both terms/phrases identified would be a greater risk. A similar algorithm is used to determine “rate advantages” where distance fro a fire hydrant or a fire station, construction density, etc. could reduce an individuals rate. I have completed training as an insurance assessor (conditions inspector) and some of the items we were required to identify as well as those ignored were laughable. This is the world we live in.