Our health is one of the most valuable assets for us and hence, its only fair that we do proper research while taking an insurance for yourself. Merely deciding to take a health insurance isn’t enough. You have to also ensure that you take an insurance from a reputed company.

A few parameters that can help you decide between insurance companies:

- Years of being in business

- Accolades and awards received

- Claim settlement ratio (CSR)- Higher CSR indicates the insurance provider’s ability to settle a high number of claims during the previous financial year.

- Your eligibility for the insurance sought

- Simple and easy claim process. In the case of an unplanned/emergency hospitalisation, you have to intimate your health insurer within 24 hours of admission and for planned hospitalisation, you have to intimate the third-party administrator (TPA) or insurer 72 hours prior to admission.

There are a number of reputed and trusted insurance companies in India. Let’s take a look at the top 10 health insurance companies of the country according to online marketplace BankBazaar:

#1 New India Assurance Health Insurance

Founded in 1919 by Sir Dorabji Tata, New India Assurance Co Ltd is one of India’s most prominent general insurance provider, based in Mumbai. The company was previously a subsidiary under the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) but attained autonomy later on as per the IRDA Act, 1999. Operating via a well-penetrating network of over 2300 offices, consisting of branches, regional offices, divisional offices, direct agent branches, micro offices, and more, New India Assurance is not only among the oldest, but also the most trusted insurer in the country. The insurer has further collaborated with some of the country’s leading public sector banks, and financial organizations to further expand its distribution network, and customer base. Under its health insurance arm, New India Assurance offers a number of well-appointed plans for individuals, and families.

#2 United India Health Insurance

Incorporated in the pre-independence year of 1938, United India Insurance Company Limited, is India’s 2nd largest government-owned general insurance provider, boasting of premium worth more than Rs. 16,000 crore. Post nationalisation in 1972, the insurance company has witnessed unbridled growth, and currently caters to a customer base of over 10 million via its network of over 2200 offices and regional branches. Since its inception, United India Insurance has consistently made the news with its achievements and innovations in the general insurance space.

#3 National Health Insurance

National Insurance Company Ltd., also known as NIC, holds the honour of being India’s oldest general insurance Company which was founded in December 1906, in Kolkata. Following its nationalisation 66 years later, the insurer was merged with several other Indian, and foreign companies to finally form National Insurance Company Ltd. With years of illustrious experience under its belt, today, National Insurance Company holds the second spot in the Indian insurance space, in terms of gross direct written premium. The insurer carries out operations not only in India, but also Nepal, catering to a large customer base via its over 1900 branch network.

#4 Oriental Health Insurance

One of top pioneers in the Indian non-life insurance space is Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. Established in 1947 in Mumbai, Oriental Insurance is one of India’s most trusted public sector general insurance provider. The insurer operates via a network of more than 1800 branches and 30 regional offices which are located not just in India, but also in several nations abroad like Qatar, Nepal, Dubai, and Kuwait. The insurer’s product suite comprises of a large variety of insurance products across several categories such as personal accident insurance, motor insurance, shopkeeper insurance, householder insurance, health insurance, etc.

#5 ICICI Lombard Health Insurance

ICICI Lombard Health Insurance Company offer cashless hospitalization in its massive network of over 3,200 network hospitals. They have one of the fastest claims processing teams among any insurance provider in the game. Cashless claims are handled directly by the company and the hospital, and reimbursement claims are handled within 14 days. With three highly intricate and detailed insurance products that protect you even when you’re overseas, ICICI Lombard has established itself as one of the most comprehensive health insurance providers in the nation. It has issued over 1387 million insurance policies so far.

#6 Star Health Insurance

As India’s first standalone health insurance company, Star Health Insurance is present all over the country with over 290 branch offices and over 7,000 network hospitals. They have a record cashless claims approval rate of 90%, all done within one hour of the claim being made. No intervention of a TPA has ensured that Star Health Insurance Company has a high rate of customer satisfaction, and prides itself on its hassle-free direct claim settlement process. The Indian Insurance Awards committee awarded Star Health Insurance Company the prestigious “Health Insurance Company of the Year 2015” award in 2015.

#7 HDFC ERGO Health Insurance

Features like Enhanced No Claim Bonus, flexible payment options, cashless hospitalization and a huge network of over 5,000 partner hospitals have earned HDFC ERGO Health Insurance Company a place on this list. Exclusive benefits like discounts at pharmacies, diagnostic centres, blood banks, OPD / Doctors, ambulance services, salons, spas, clubs, gyms and wellness centres in addition to dental clinics bring HDFC ERGO to the forefront of health insurers who are willing to go the extra mile to keep their customers happy. They also have 7 unique health insurance plan to cater to specific insurance needs that any customer may have.

#8 Apollo Munich Health Insurance

When two giants in the healthcare industry join forces for the common good, you get a company as brilliantly run as the Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company. The Apollo Hospitals Group, which is Asia’s largest healthcare provider joined forces with Munich Health, a world leader in the health insurance segment. Simple policies with simple wordings and comprehensive coverage have led Apollo Munich Health Insurance Company to become one of the most highly trusted names in insurance today. Over 90% of their cashless authorizations are done within 2 hours of the claim being made. Over 90% of the claims are settled within 30 days, and 80% of their customers renew their policies every year which points to a high degree of customer satisfaction.

#9 Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance

With a huge partner hospital network of over 4,000 hospitals, and counting, Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance Company has emerged as one of the top players in the health insurance sector in India. The reigning “Best Insurance Company in India” (as awarded by the Asia Insurance Industry Awards, 2014) is also one of the highest in terms of customer satisfaction.

#10 SBI Health Insurance

The health insurance company with the widest reach across India with over 14,000 official branches, SBI Health Insurance offers individual and group health insurance policies. To say it has earned the respect and trust of its customers would be an understatement, as it has earned the prestigious 'Most Trusted Private Life Insurance Brand 2013' by the Economic Times, Brand Equity and Nielsen Survey. It’s also 3 separate awards that recognise its efforts towards its employees 'Dream Company To Work For 2014 in Private Insurance', 'Dream Employer of the Year 2014' - Ranked 4th, and 'Employer Branding Award 2014' for Talent Management at the World HRD Congress.