Long road to recovery

The family house flattened by a tree.

It took just one night in 2016 to destroy a family home in Menzies Creek.

On 19 October, Angela Wilson, her husband and two daughters were inside when a 20-metre tree demolished half of their house, missing them by a matter of metres.

The damage from the tree left the Wilson family homeless and their possessions destroyed.

“All you heard was a bit of scratching on the roof and then my husband Adam yelled get out and I scooped up the closest child and we ran outside,” Ms Wilson said.

“It flattened all three bedrooms and the bathroom … a limb pierced the lounge room, which we were sitting in.

“It was pretty much half the house.”

While trying to recover from the trauma of the windstorm, the aftermath has been a long road to recovery.

For the past 19 months the family has endured a marathon battle with their insurance company, fighting for a fair and just settlement amount.

Ms Wilson said it started when the quote the insurance company provided didn’t quite add up.

“It wasn’t until they offered a settlement amount and paperwork that showed ‘this is what we’re fixing and this is what we’re not fixing’ that things started to feel off,” she said.

“They sent us a builder’s quote of what they were going to fix and as soon as my husband and I looked through it we knew there was something wrong.

“The amount that they offered compared to the damage done just didn’t add up.”

Following a second quote from a qualified engineer and builder, Ms Wilson said it was found that about $70,000 in damages had been overlooked.

Despite bringing this to the attention of the insurer, their reports were dismissed.

After taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman 14 months ago, the determination, considerably in the favour of the young family, means they are finally free of their insurance claim and can start rebuilding their home and their lives.

“The biggest disappointment was probably feeling like we weren’t being heard by the insurance company – we wanted to be able to have a conversation with them,” Ms Wilson said.

“In the beginning we thought ‘everything is happening and this is going to be so good and easy’, but as soon as we raised our concerns everything slowed down and became harder.”

The young family is now on the road to building a new house on their property in Menzies Creek and Ms Wilson had some words of advice for those who might find themselves in a similar situation.

“If something that doesn’t sound right or look right, look into it … you have every right to question it.”