Travel insurance Japan

Japan: the Land of the Rising Sun, home to centuries-old castles and the latest in technological innovation. It’s also the birthplace of Pokemon, so my childhood is in eternal debt to the imagination of the Japanese.

I was barely twelve years old when I first set foot in Japan. It was Summer. The humidity was intoxicating and the sun stood brightly in the vast, blue sky over Osaka. We had an action-packed itinerary, visiting the Osaka aquarium, Universal Studios, an outdoor adventure park in the midst of a dense, Japanese maple forest, and a trip to historic Kyoto. Fuelled almost exclusively by sushi, it was a trip to remember. 

With so much to do and see in Japan, you’ll want to make sure your holidays aren’t hampered by any unforeseen circumstances, so you can enjoy the cultural and culinary flavours on offer, without the headache of worrying about what happens when something goes wrong. The best way to do that is by making sure you find a travel insurance policy for Japan that suits your needs.

Knowing that you’re covered if your flights are cancelled, if you end up in hospital due to an accident, or if your luggage goes missing, could make the difference between feeling like your head is playing host to a Japanese game show, or taking in the serenity of a Zen garden.

What should my travel insurance policy for Japan include?

When choosing travel insurance for Japan, consider important factors like how long your trip will be, what benefits you might need, and if there are any optional-extras you’d like to personalise your cover. 

If you’re heading to Japan for a ski or snowboarding trip in Niseko, then find a policy that offers snow travel insurance on top of their international travel insurance policies. 

And if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, make sure that your insurance provider covers your condition. You don’t want to foot the bill in a Japanese hospital if your health acts up while travelling. 

Many travel insurance providers will offer different tiers of cover on their international policies. These often range from basic or essential policies, to premium or comprehensive policies. 

Generally, a basic policy will cover benefits like overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses, and personal liability. However, cover for things like flight delays, cancellations, loss of travel documents or cash, might only be available if you pay a higher premium. The question you have to ask yourself is, what can I afford to risk?

Do Australians need a visa to travel to Japan?

If you hold an Australian passport, then you won’t need a visa if you’re travelling in Japan for less than a total of 90 days. If you’re planning to work however, you will need to apply for a work visa, which must be done before you arrive in the country.

Can I get COVID-19 travel insurance for Japan?

Some travel insurance providers will offer benefits related to COVID-19, however in many cases it will only cover overseas medical and cancellation costs if you contract COVID-19, and may not cover things like mandatory quarantine or government-mandated border closures. 

Often, if your destination has a ‘Do not travel’ warning from the Australian government’s Smartraveller site, your travel insurance provider will not cover you for COVID-19. It’s always a good idea to read your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) so that you’re aware of what you’re covered for when it comes to the pandemic.

Recently the Smartraveller warning has been downgraded to 'exercise normal safety precautions' for much of Japan. 

From June 10, 2022 Japan is also accepting foreign tourists for the first time since they put in place border restrictions.

At the moment, Japan is only open for foreigners on guided and organised tours who are from "blue" (low-risk) countries, like Australia. 

The only way you'll get a visa at the moment is by having your guided or organised tour company sponsor your visa application, as Japan's visa-waiver program is still on-hold. 

Do I need natural disaster cover for Japan?

Japan is a country prone to earthquakes (don’t worry, most of them are minor ones). But in case there is a disruption to your travel plans due to a natural disaster, your travel insurance policy could cover you for any resulting costs. Some providers might require you to pay an extra premium for natural disaster cover, but it could be worth it if you need to make costly, new travel arrangements due to an earthquake or flood. 

But keep in mind, your travel insurance only covers unforeseen events - that means if you're travelling to an area where the government has issued earthquake warnings, or you could have reasonably known about the earthquake (or any natural disaster) before travelling, you won't be covered.

Travel insurance tips for Japan

  • Excess fees. When you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you may be required to pay a certain part of the total value of your claim. The rest would be paid by the insurance provider. This amount that you need to pay yourself is called an excess. This excess fee can vary according to your policy. Generally, the cheaper the cover, the more likely your excess fee will be higher.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance providers ask you to declare any pre-existing conditions at the time of purchasing the policy. If you fail to do so, the insurance company can reject a claim you later make regarding that condition. Also, remember that pregnancies are considered as a pre-existing condition.
  • Unattended baggage. Remember that if your bags go missing while you’ve left them unattended, your insurance provider may reject your claim. In fact, even when you leave your bags with the hotel concierge after you’ve checked out, that’s often considered ‘unattended’ in the provider’s eyes.
  • Report incidents ASAP. Whether you’ve injured yourself while skiing in Niseko, or had your purse stolen at a Tokyo nightclub, you must report any incident as soon as possible. Again, if you’ve read your policy’s PDS carefully, you’ll know the exact documentation that you will be required to submit with your claim. Generally, these will be doctors reports, hospital bills, police reports, or receipts, depending on the nature of your claim. So, make sure you hold onto these when it comes to contacting your travel insurance provider.
  • Drink responsibly. Always remember to be responsible with your drinks. If you face a medical emergency or injury while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your insurance company could refuse to reimburse you for those expenses. The worst type of hangover doesn’t come from sake – it’s induced by bills.

If you’re after an international travel insurance policy for Japan, then check out some of the available policies below!

Compare travel insurance policies - last updated 3 July 2022

Search promoted travel insurance below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Get peace of mind with Fast Cover with worldwide 24 hour emergency assistance. Enjoy cover for emergency medical and hospital expenses. Get cover for cancellation costs as well as for luggage and personal belongings. No medical assessments required. 25 day money back guarantee. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $5,000.

    Details
  • Top
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Be covered for international overseas and medical expenses. Emergency medical assistance 24 hours/365 days a year. Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits. Cover for luggage and personal money. Dependents covered free of charge (conditions apply). Limited COVID cover available. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $3,500.

    Details
  • Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    $5,000 optional to increase to $Unlimited

    Backed by the NIB, one of Australia’s largest travel insurance providers, Travel Insurance Saver brings you peace of mind on your travels. Compare three tiers of insurance cover, featuring benefits like 24 hour emergency assistance, emergency medical cover, luggage cover, cancellation cover and more.

    Details
  • International Travel Insurance
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    $5,000 - Option to increase in lots of $1,000.

    Details