It may be the season to be jolly, but if your home was invaded by 800 revellers after your teenage daughter puts out an open invitation on Facebook, don’t expect your insurer to pay for the damage.Sarah Hine, 14, posted a message on the social media site that included the party address, and hundreds of youngsters turned up.
They smashed up furniture, broke windows, wrote on walls and punched and kicked holes in walls and ceilings, and then ripped the doors off their hinges.
Sarah’s mum, Esther, 56, says the repair bill for their Billericay, Essex, home runs to at least £30,000 and her home insurer has refused to pay out on the claim because the vandals were invited in.
Police were called by neighbours and confronted hundreds of teenagers in the street. No arrests were made.
David Rochester, head underwriter at Halifax Home Insurance said; “It’s important to remind young people about the dangers of advertising parties on social networking sites, as they can easily lose control of who and how many are attending.
“Homeowners could be left with a hefty bill for damage, as most home insurance policies do not cover malicious damage, theft or vandalism caused by guests invited into your home by you or your family.”
Rochester made some suggestions to help stop parties getting out of control:
- Limit the number of guests and never suggest it’s an open house
- Safeguard sofas and carpets with plastic protectors from DIY shops
- Switch glasses, cutlery and crockery for disposable plastic
- Don’t light the rooms with candles that can easily start a fire
- Tell smokers to light up outside
Recently, more than 1,000 party-goers turned up to a 21st birthday bash also advertised on Facebook. Police were called to deal with complaints about noise, drunkenness and disturbances. Magistrates at St Alban’s sentenced the host to a 12 month community service order and ordered him to pay £585 costs and compensation. He also must serve an eight week curfew.