No one wants to be the victim of an accident, malicious behavior or just plain bad luck. Nevertheless, these things do happen to the best of us and that is why insurance was created in the first place – to offer a measure of relief and protection. Still, insurance companies are money-making entities and will not pay out without a little effort on the part of the insured. Here are three steps to follow to ensure that payment is made in a timely and appropriate manner: Get the information of any involved party – While you can safely allow Mother Nature to skirt on this issue, anyone else should provide good contact and insurance information if they choose to leave the scene of an accident before the authorities arrive. If others involved in an accident do not wish to comply, take down as much information as you can – make and model of the car, license plate number, physical description, etc. In short, this is no time to trust in the good nature of human beings. As President Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” Notify the insurance company promptly – When an issue arises, insurers want to be notified as soon as possible. They have their interests to protect and usually would like to send a representative to examine the scene or the damage in person as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. It is not an unreasonable request – as it only takes a phone call to notify them – and doing so will stand the insured in good stead going forward. Similarly, if another party is involved in the issue, try to convince them to contact their insurance company as soon as possible as well. Document every detail of the incident – While almost every large insurance company is respectable, they will still require substantial proof of the insured’s loss to pay out the maximum benefit. Otherwise, they will use all of their skills to minimize the payout. For this reason, it is essential to detail the loss as much as possible. This process should include a list of damaged items – preferably one that is a portion of the property list filled out ahead of time that the insurance company is already aware of – as well as pictures of any damage done to one’s property at the time of the problem. In addition, police and doctor’s reports should also be forwarded to the insurance company. Follow up tenaciously until payment is made – While the agent in charge of your case may feel that a phone call every day is somewhat overzealous, it reminds him or her that the insured is actively interested in the case and will not settle for half-hearted efforts. Keep in mind that no one will protect the insured’s interests better than the insured themselves. Reminding the insurance agent of this fact is simply common sense and not needlesslydone. At any rate, the insured needs their money as soon as possible and should be accorded the same courtesy that insurance companies accord themselves when it comes time for the payment of premiums.