Insurers won't pay for party home damage

By John HowardA COUPLE whose home was trashed after their daughter threw a house party while they were on holiday have been told their insurers will not pay out.

By John Howard

A COUPLE whose home was trashed after their daughter threw a house party while they were on holiday have been told their insurers will not pay out.

More than 70 Stowupland High School pupils turned up at the party in Wyverstone after Sarah Symons, 16, announced her plans during an assembly.

Her mother, Sharon, and stepfather, David, had gone to France and had left their daughter with relatives to prepare for her GCSE exams.

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But the teenager got hold of a spare set of keys, paving the way for the party at the Church Hill house on May 20.

But the party got out of control and a trail of damage was left behind, including two 6ft conifers snapped in half, a banister torn from the wall and curtain rails ripped down.

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Three beds were also destroyed, cigarettes had been stubbed out on carpets and window sills, patio doors were virtually torn off their hinges and a neighbour's fence was broken by revellers who climbed over it to use a trampoline.

Mrs Symons, a dinner lady at nearby Bacton Middle School, and her husband, a BT engineer, have now been told that their contents insurers, Lloyds TSB Insurance, and building insurer, Fortis Insurance, will not pay them a penny towards the estimated £6,000 damage.

The couple have paid £900 to lay new carpets, which they have had to put on their credit card, but have not been able to repair much of the damage.

Mrs Symons has now taken the matter up with the financial ombudsman in an effort to make the companies have a rethink.

She said: “It's just not fair. They turned us down flat and said the reason was because Sarah had invited people on to the premises and, as she was a family member, they were invited guests.

“It's just crazy. In my whole life as a householder I have only ever made one claim before now when an iron fell on the carpet.”

A spokeswoman for Fortis Insurance said: “The party was announced to the daughter's entire year group by her at the school assembly and approximately 60 of her peers attended the party.

“The neighbours called the police due to the noise, they were informed that all was in order and left. After this a group of 20 to 22-year-olds arrived at the party. Some of the guests left the same evening, but it appears that most stayed the night.

“During the course of the party a large variety of damage was caused to the property, estimated at £6,000 buildings damage.

“It is alleged that the damage to the property was caused by the 20 to 22-year olds. However, the 60 school friends that the insured invited are thought to be at least partly responsible for the damage.”

She added: “From our inquiries it does not appear that the daughter sought any assistance from the police in removing the 20 to 22-year-olds.

“As the daughter exhibited gross recklessness in the method of arranging and inviting people to the party and the fact that the police are holding her responsible for the damage, the decision has been taken to decline the claim.

“The specific exclusion in the policy is 'loss or damage caused by you, or any persons lawfully in your home'. The daughter's open invitation approach and the fact she is being held responsible for the damage by the police would fall within this exclusion.”

A spokeswoman for Lloyds TSB Insurance said Sarah had invited the majority of people into the home and malicious damage was not covered by its policy when people were lawfully in the house.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said it had investigated the incident, but no-one had been arrested or charged and no further action would be taken.

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