Riverina residents say they are shocked and frustrated after being repeatedly denied insurance payouts for damage they claim their homes suffered in last year's major earthquake.
The 5.9 magnitude earthquake was registered just south of Mansfield on September 22, with tremors being felt across the Riverina as well as large parts of Victoria and NSW.
Anne Barry was lying in bed at her home in Henty when the earthquake hit and said she will never forget the minutes that followed.
"I heard something fall in the ensuite and when I went in there, the perfumes and aftershave and everything that was on the windowsill were all falling on the floor," she said.
"Stuff was falling in my kitchen as well and you could hear our house basically twisting because there was cracking and popping like you would not believe."
Mrs Barry said her home, which was built in the 50s, suffered extensive damage from the shaking, including broken tiles, cracked plaster, dislodged cupboard doors and split rafters in the ceiling.
Within an hour she had contacted Elders Insurance Wagga to inform them of the situation and an inspector came out to assess the damage later that week.
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Mrs Barry believed the matter had been resolved and the repair process was under way, until weeks later when she was informed her claim had been denied.
"When the engineer's report came back and said my claim had been denied I just cried," she said.
"They agreed to send another engineer and I was so positive that would get it fixed but that was denied as well and I just couldn't believe it."
Mrs Barry claims she was told by the insurance provider her home was too far away from the epicentre of the earthquake for it to have caused the damage.
The 62-year-old has questioned the science behind this supposed claim and is now considering taking the matter to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
Elders Insurance Wagga said they could not respond to questions from The Daily Advertiser.
Wagga resident Kim Williams had just begun renting out her property in Ashmont when the earthquake hit.
The new tenants advised their real estate agent the house had suffered damage during the tremors, and Ms Williams was then sent images of "many large cracks" along an inside wall.
The cracks are not visible in photos taken by the real estate agent just a few weeks before the earthquake and Ms Williams said she had no doubt her claim with Woolworths Insurance would be successful.
"It took them three months to respond and then they knocked it back and said it was just normal movement," she said.
"I had just assumed it would definitely be covered and I was shocked it had been denied because of the photos and the tenant would have nothing to gain from saying the home is damaged."
Ms Williams plans to fight the decision but said she is not confident because this appears to be a Riverina-wide issue.
"Everybody seems to be getting knocked back and I haven't heard of anybody who has had their claim approved and that's just really disappointing," she said.
The Daily Advertiser contacted Woolworths Insurance for comment.
A Suncorp spokeswoman said decline rates can be quite high following earthquakes, as people inspect their homes and find pre-existing damage and assume it was from the tremor.
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