General insurance companies keep coming up with new insurance schemes in non-life sectors like automobiles, housing, health, travel, energy, business, agriculture, corporate, and chemicals. The field of general insurance was opened to private players in India in 2000. Now there are as many as 28 private companies offering general insurance cover in the country. The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) is the sole public sector insurance company now. Almost all the private companies have gone in for joint ventures with world-level insurance companies.

Risk Multiply

The world has changed fast in the past five decades. It has witnessed a drastic change in lifestyles of people of most nationalities. Life has become fast but lifestyles sedentary. People don’t walk even a few meters every day. They have neither the time nor the inclination for regular exercise. Automobile traffic is growing everywhere. And so is pollution. More people are involved in accidents than ever before. The incidence of heart diseases and diabetes is increasing.

Insurance Cover

General insurance companies seek to cover the risks now being faced by people in day-to-day life. They provide insurance against damage to automobiles, critical illnesses, personal accidents, protection for houses and shops against fire and other hazards, shops, students opting for education in foreign countries and general health. These policies provide a limited compensation in proportion to the premium being paid.

The Online Era

With India having become a major center for worldwide computer-based services, it is but natural for the companies in India to conduct much of their business deals online. The online business activity is picking up fast across the country, with online shopping perhaps taking the lion’s share. Most general insurance companies now offer to complete the insurance cover schemes online. It has now become easy and convenient for people to buy general insurance online. They don’t have to waste time by going to the offices of the insurance companies, pay in cash or by check. They can choose their own conditions, their own schemes and complete the insurance deal online.

Understand the Policy Terms

Be it a case of car insurance, accident protection, house insurance or risk cover in foreign tours, people can now go in for online insurance. Once they finalize the first insurance, the regular payment of the premium online just becomes an easy formality. But before finalizing any general insurance scheme, the policyholder should consult an expert in the field. The insurance contracts are full of conditions in small print. Most policyholders cannot make out a thing out of those legal jargons. Rather than go in for a deal that is neither clear nor transparent and then repenting, people wishing to go in for general insurance must clearly understand what they are letting them into.

Be on Guard

Regulatory authorities keep on making and modifying the rules to safeguard the interests of the people, who opt for general insurance. But insurance companies always find a way to whittle down the compensation to the minimum. So the policy holders have to be on guard when they accept conditions in the initial contract.

• The author likes to write about health, insurance, and buy general insurance online. He likes to write useful articles on insurance for reliancegeneral.