General insurance is the insurance of non-living objects. General insurance policies are taken to cover goods or assets which, if damaged, cause financial loss to the owner. Besides covering assets, general insurance policies also cover financial costs incurred due to specific perils. For instance, fire insurance policies cover damages suffered due to fire. Similarly, health insurance policies cover the cost of medical expenses incurred in case of a medical contingency.

Why are general insurance policies important?

Every asset has a financial value attached to it. If the asset is damaged or lost, there would be a financial loss. Similarly, in the case of insurable perils, if the perils occur, they cause a financial loss. These financial losses can be substantial which might threaten your financial stability. General insurance policies compensate you for the financial losses which you suffer giving you financial relief. That is why these policies become important and are bought by people looking to secure their finances against possible risks.

Types of general insurance policies

General insurance deals in different types of coverage options. The types of plans which fall under the scope of general insurance include the following –

Each of these types of plans has further sub-variants. Let’s understand these variants in brief –

Health insurance

Health insurance policies cover medical contingencies. These plans cover the high costs associated with medical treatments and give policyholders financial relief in a medical crisis. Health insurance plans are available in different types which are mentioned below –

  • Indemnity health plansIndemnity health plans are those which cover the actual medical costs which are incurred on hospitalisation. If the insured suffers any illness or injury and is hospitalised for the same, indemnity health plans would pay the hospital bills incurred up to the sum insured.

    Indemnity plans can further be divided into the following types:

    • Individual health insurance plans which cover a single individual
    • Family floater health insurance plans which cover all family members under the same plan. A single plan is issued which allows coverage for all members of the family. The sum insured is shared between the covered family members independently as well as jointly. Family floater plans usually cover the policyholder, spouse, dependent children and dependent parents.
  • Fixed benefit health plansFixed benefit health insurance plans are the opposite of indemnity plans. These plans cover specific contingencies and if the covered contingency occurs, a fixed, pre-defined benefit is paid to the policyholder irrespective of the actual medical costs incurred.

    Fixed benefit health insurance plans come in the following variants –

    • Critical illness plans which cover a list of critical illnesses and major surgical procedures. If the insured suffers from any of the covered illness or undergoes any covered procedure, the sum insured is paid in lump sum irrespective of the actual cost of treatment.
    • Hospital daily cash benefit plans which cover hospitalisation. If the insured is hospitalised for 24 hours or more, these plans pay a fixed daily benefit for each day of hospitalisation.
    • Personal accident plans which cover accidental contingencies. If the insured suffers accidental death or disability, the plan pays a lump sum benefit depending on the contingency suffered.
  • Senior citizen plans

Senior citizen health insurance plans are indemnity oriented health insurance plans which cover senior citizens. These plans are specifically designed for individuals aged 60 years and above. Senior citizens can get health insurance coverage even in their old age through senior citizen health plans.

  • Disease specific plansThese plans are designed to cover specific illnesses and the costs incurred in treating them. Disease specific health insurance plans cover either individuals suffering from the covered ailment or individuals who want to protect their finances against specific ailments.

    Different types of disease specific plans that are available include the following –

    • Dengue plans – these plans cover the incidence of dengue and the associated medical costs incurred on its treatment. Individuals who do not suffer from dengue can buy this plan.
    • Cardiac care plans – these plans are for individuals who have specified cardiac related medical conditions and have undergone treatment for the same. Cardiac care plans help individuals meet the medical costs associated with their ailments.
    • Diabetes plans – diabetes plans are designed solely for diabetics. Individuals suffering from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can buy the plan. The plan would cover basic hospitalisation costs and the treatment costs for diabetes related conditions.
    • Maternity plans – maternity plans cover the costs incurred in pregnancy and childbirth. These plans are for individuals who are planning on starting a family and having a baby.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance plans are those which cover the financial contingencies suffered when you are travelling. If you fall sick on a trip and need medical treatments, if you lose your baggage or if you suffer from any other contingency, a travel insurance plan would cover the costs incurred. Travel insurance plans also offer different types of policies which are as follows –

  • Single trip policies – these policies cover a single trip taken for a specified duration.
  • Annual multi-trip policies – if you take multiple trips in a year, an annual multi-trip policy can be bought. This policy covers an unlimited number of trips taken during a year.
  • International travel policies – these policies cover international trips. International travel plans can be designed as country-specific plans too.
  • Domestic travel policies – domestic plans cover trips taken within India
  • Senior citizen travel insurance – senior citizen travel plans cover individuals aged 60 years and above who go on a trip
  • Student travel insurance policies – these policies are specifically designed for students who travel abroad for higher education.

Motor insurance

Motor insurance policies are mandatory coverage requirements for vehicles which run in India. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 states that every vehicle on Indian roads should have a third party cover on it. As such, motor insurance policies are bought by every vehicle owner. Motor insurance policies can come in the following variants –

  • Comprehensive motor insurance policies: These policies cover third party liability as mandated by the law along with own damage of the vehicle. Comprehensive plans can either be:
    • Car insurance policies – these policies cover private cars OR
    • Two-wheeler insurance policies – these policies cover privately owned two-wheelers
  • Third party policies – third party plans offer the coverage which has been mandated under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. These policies can be taken by any type of vehicle. The policies compensate the financial liability suffered by the owner of the vehicle in case of third party bodily injury or property damage.
  • Commercial vehicle insurance – commercial vehicle insurance policies cover commercial vehicles like taxis, trucks, commercial cars, etc.

Home insurance

Home insurance plans cover the financial loss suffered if the structure of the home and/or its contents are damaged or lost. Home insurance plans come in three variants which are as follows –

  • Structure insurance which insures the structure of the house, i.e. the roofs, walls, etc. against damage or destruction suffered due to natural or man-made causes
  • Contents insurance which covers the contents of the home like furniture and fittings, home appliances, jewellery, works of art, etc. If the contents of the home are damaged or stolen, the policy pays the loss suffered
  • Comprehensive insurance – this policy combines structure insurance and contents insurance and offers coverage against damage or loss of the structure as well as contents of the home.

Commercial insurance

Commercial insurance policies are those which are bought by businesses, traders, retail outlets and other types of business establishments to protect against specific risks that they face. There are a lot of variants under commercial insurance.

However, some of the popular types of commercial insurance policies are as follows –

  • Fire and burglary insurance – the policy covers damages suffered due to fire and its related perils as well as due to burglary.
  • Marine insurance – the policy covers goods being transported from one place to another. Moreover, marine insurance plans are also available to cover the vessel which is transporting the goods from one place to another.
  • Workmen’s Compensation insurance – Workmen’s Compensation Act mandates organisations to compensate their workers if they suffer from death or injuries due to the nature of their employment. A Workmen’s Compensation policy covers this payment done by the organisation to its employees if they suffer physical contingencies due to employment.
  • Group mediclaim insurance – group mediclaim plans are group health insurance plans which are bought by organisations to cover their employees. Group mediclaim plans can also be bought by other registered groups for their group members.
  • Doctor’s Professional Indemnity insurance – this policy covers the liability which doctors and medical professionals face due to error or negligence in discharging their services.
  • Directors and Officers Liability insurance – this insurance covers the directors and officers of an organisation against liabilities suffered if they make mistakes in discharging their duties.
  • Commercial General Liability – this is a comprehensive policy which covers the liability faced by a business due to any of its activities which harm a third party.
  • Crop insurance – crop insurance policies are offered to farmers to protect them against the loss of their crops and the financial liability that they face due to such loss.
  • Property insurance – property insurance covers the land and building owned by a business against damage and the loss thereof.

List of general insurance companies in India

Now that you know the different types of general insurance policies, let’s check the list of companies offering these policies in India –

Serial NumberName of the insurerJoint venture partnersNature of ownership
1Acko General Insurance LimitedCatamaran, Accel Partners and othersPrivately owned company
2Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company LimitedAditya Birla GroupPrivately owned company
3Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company LimitedApollo Hospitals Group and Munich HealthPrivately owned company
4Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company LimitedBajaj Finserv Limited and Allianz SE in the ratio 74%:26% respectivelyPrivately owned company
5Bharti AXA General Insurance Company LimitedBharti Enterprises and AXA in the ratio 51% and 49% respectivelyPrivately owned company
6Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company LimitedMurugappa Group and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company of Japan.Privately owned company
7Manipal Cigna Health Insurance Company LimitedManipal Group and Cigna CorporationPrivately owned company
8DHFL General Insurance LimitedWadhawan Global CapitalPrivately owned company
9Edelweiss General Insurance Company LimitedEdelweiss GroupPrivately owned company
10Future Generali India Insurance Company LimitedFuture Group and Generali GroupPrivately owned company
11Go Digit General Insurance LimitedFairfax GroupPrivately owned company
12HDFC Ergo General Insurance Company LimitedHDFC Limited and ERGO International AGPrivately owned company
13ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company LimitedICICI Bank LimitedPrivately owned company
14IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company LimitedIndian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative and Tokio Marine Group in the ratio 51%:49% respectivelyPrivately owned company
15Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company LimitedSubsidiary of Kotak Mahindra Bank LimitedPrivately owned company
16Liberty General Insurance LimitedLiberty Citystate holdings PTE Limited and Liberty Industries LimitedPrivately owned company
17Magma HDI General Insurance Company LimitedMagma Fincorp Limited and HDI Global SE from GermanyPrivately owned company
18Max Bupa Health Insurance Company LimitedMax India Limited and BupaPrivately owned company
19National Insurance Company LimitedOwned by the GovernmentPublic company
20Raheja QBE General Insurance Company LimitedRajan Raheja Group and QBEPrivately owned company
21Reliance General Insurance Company LimitedReliance GroupPrivately owned company
22Religare Health Insurance Company LimitedReligare Enterprises LimitedPrivately owned company
23Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company LimitedSundaram Finance, Ageas Insurance International N.V and other shareholders in the ratio 50%:40%:10% respectivelyPrivately owned company
24SBI General Insurance Company LimitedState Bank of India and IAG (Insurance Australia Group)Privately owned company
25Shriram General Insurance Company LimitedShriram Capital LimitedPrivately owned company
26Star Health & Allied Insurance Company LimitedICICI Ventures, Oman Insurance Company, Sequoia Capital, Alpha TC Holdings and TATA Capital Growth FundPrivately owned company
27TATA AIG General Insurance Company LimitedTATA Group and AIG (American International Group)Privately owned company
28The New India Assurance Company LimitedOwned by the GovernmentPublic company
29The Oriental Insurance Company LimitedOwned by the GovernmentPublic company
30United India Insurance Company LimitedOwned by the GovernmentPublic company
31Universal Sompo General Insurance Company LimitedIndian Overseas Bank, Allahabad Bank, Dabur Investments, Karnataka Bank Limited and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.Privately owned company

Specialized general insurance companies

The above-mentioned companies offer general insurance solutions for retail as well as commercial clients. Besides these companies, there are two specialized general insurance companies which deal in only specialized general insurance products. These companies and their product profile is as follows –

    1. Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited

The Agriculture Insurance Company of India Limited is a Government owned general insurance company which deals only in agriculture insurance policies. The policies are designed to offer financial security to farmers and are specialised as per the needs of specific farmers.

    1. Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Limited

ECGC Limited is also owned by the Government of India. The company offers specialised general insurance policies to protect the credit risks involved in the export of goods. The policies of the company are designed to cover export credit risks faced by exporters, banks, MSMEs and other financial institutions.

Incurred Claims Ratio of general insurance companies

To estimate the profitability of a general insurance company, the Incurred Claim Ratio of the company is taken into consideration. The ratio is determined as the amount of claims paid by the insurance company against the total premiums received in a financial year. The higher the ratio, the higher the claim experience of the company.

Here is the Incurred Claim Ratio of different general insurance companies for the financial year 2017-18:

Name of the insurerIncurred Claim Ratio
Acko General Insurance Limited65.02%
Aditya Birla Health Insurance Company Limited89.05%
Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company Limited62.47%
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Limited77.61%
Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Limited98.50%
Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited39.96%
Manipal Cigna Health Insurance Company Limited46.29%
DHFL General Insurance Limited7.89%
Edelweiss General Insurance Company Limited70.01%
Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited87.42%
Go Digit General Insurance Limited60%
HDFC Ergo General Insurance Company Limited52.58%
ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited68.26%
IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited90.69%
Kotak Mahindra General Insurance Company Limited48.21%
Liberty General Insurance Limited74.58%
Magma HDI General Insurance Company Limited34.93%
Max Bupa Health Insurance Company Limited50.19%
National Insurance Company Limited115.55%
Raheja QBE General Insurance Company Limited18.19%
Reliance General Insurance Company Limited106.54%
Religare Health Insurance Company Limited51.97%
Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Limited61.41%
SBI General Insurance Company Limited52.93%
Shriram General Insurance Company Limited50.83%
Star Health & Allied Insurance Company Limited61.76%
TATA AIG General Insurance Company Limited60.68%
The New India Assurance Company Limited103.19%
The Oriental Insurance Company Limited113.86%
United India Insurance Company Limited110.95%
Universal Sompo General Insurance Company Limited104.17%

Top 5 tips to choose the best general insurance company

With more than 30 general insurance companies in the market, it becomes difficult to choose the best company to buy insurance from.

So, here are five useful tips using which you can choose the best general insurance company –

    1. The range of plans offered

In all types of general insurance policies there are different variants. Though all companies offer different variants, the trick is in the variety of plans in each variant. The more the variety of plans offered by the company, the more flexibility you can have in choosing the coverage benefits that you require.

    1. Coverage offered

Coverage should be carefully compared between the different plans of general insurance companies. A plan which offers a wider scope of coverage would be better as you would be covered against higher eventualities. The company offering the best coverage features would be the best insurer to choose.

    1. The premium charged

When comparing general insurance companies, always compare the premiums vis-à-vis the coverage offered by the company. The company offering the lowest rate of premium for similar coverage benefits would be the best company.

    1. The ease of claim settlements

The purpose of insurance is to compensate you for the loss that you suffer in a contingency. However, at the time of compensation of the loss, if the insurance company takes too much time or does not settle your claims satisfactorily, the purpose of insurance would be defeated. So, when comparing general insurers, compare the ease with which they settle claims and their historical claim settlement record. A company which settles its claims easily and has a good track record of settling its claims would be the best.

    1. Value-added benefits

In a bid to outdo their competitors, general insurance companies offer various value-added benefits in their insurance policies. For instance, in the case of motor insurance policies, companies can offer free roadside assistance cover to woo customers. Similarly, in health insurance plans, companies offer free doctor consultations, assessment of health, etc. These value-added benefits enhance your insurance experience and so the company offering the best and the most benefits would be the best.

When comparing general insurance companies you should keep these tips in mind. They would help you select the best insurer for your insurance needs.

Turtlemint also sells general insurance policies. You can buy a variety of general insurance policies online on Turtlemint. Turtlemint offers you a chance to compare the best policies offered by leading insurance companies and then buy a plan. Moreover, Turtlemint’s team give you personalised assistance in buying the product so that you can buy the policy after complete knowledge of its technical details.

Buying from Turtlemint is simple. All you have to do is visit www.turtlemint.com. There, on the home page you can get the options of different types of general insurance plans – Car, Two-wheeler and Health.

You can choose the type of policy you need, enter all the relevant details and then you can check the available plans. Turtlemint gives you the facility to compare the different plans available in the market. You can compare and choose the best policy.

Besides letting you buy general insurance plans, Turtlemint also helps you with your claims. You can inform Turtlemint and Turtlemint’s team would help you get the settlement of your claim easily.


FAQ’s

Health insurance policies are the only type of general insurance plans which offer tax benefits. The premiums paid towards a health insurance policy can be claimed as a deduction under Section 80D. The limit of deduction available is INR 25,000 which increases to INR 50,000 if you are a senior citizen. Moreover, if you pay an additional premium for your senior citizen parents’ health cover, you can claim an additional deduction of INR 50,000 on such premium.


The principle of indemnity means that the actual loss suffered would be compensated by the insurance company. At the time of claim, the principle of indemnity ensures that the loss suffered by the policyholder is covered by the claim. Since the loss is covered by the insurance policy, the policyholder is not allowed to make a profit from his insurance policy.


Third party liability is the liability that you face if you harm any third party. If any individual, other than yourself, is killed or injured by your vehicle, you face a financial liability for the loss caused. Similarly, if your vehicle damages any individual’s property, you face a financial liability. Both these liabilities are called third party liability. Availing insurance coverage for this third party liability is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.


No, general insurance companies cannot sell life insurance policies.


You can buy general insurance policies online or offline. Online plans can be bought directly from the website of the company or from an insurance aggregators’ website. Offline plans can be bought through an agent of a company or by visiting the branches of the company.