Hurricane Irma caused more than $300 million in insured damages, according to figures released Thursday by the Georgia insurance commissioner.

Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said the storm resulted in more than 50,000 property-related insurance claims.

“Our preliminary estimate today is $336 million in damage across Georgia,” Hudgens said. “That figure may rise as new claims are submitted.”

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The majority of the damage was related to homeowners insurance.

Hudgens said consumers with Irma damages can take these steps to begin the claims-filing process:

  • Work with your insurance company. Ask what documents, forms, and data you will need to file a claim. Keep a diary of all conversations with insurance companies, creditors or relief agencies.
  • Maintain any damaged personal property for the adjuster to inspect.
  • Ask the adjuster for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer.
  • Be wary of contractors who demand upfront payment before work is initiated or payment in full before work is completed. If the contractor needs payment to buy supplies, go with the contractor and pay the supplier directly.
  • Get more than one bid. Ask for at least three references. Check with the Better Business Bureau about the contractor. Ask for proof of necessary licenses, building permits, insurance, and bonding. Record the license plate number and driver’s license number of the contractor.
  • If there is a disagreement about a claim, ask the company for the specific language in the policy in question and determine why you and the company interpret your policy differently.
  • If the first offer made by an insurance company does not meet your expectations, be prepared to negotiate to get a fair settlement.

Hudgens said if anyone believes they are being treated unfairly in getting a claim paid, they can call his office at 800-656-2298 from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday.