Travel insurance is not required to visit Japan but is recommended to cover unforeseen medical treatments abroad. Not all U.S. health insurance plans provide coverage in other countries — so you might not have coverage if you become hurt in Japan. However, you can obtain emergency medical coverage through a travel insurance plan. In case of an emergency, travel insurance can cover medical treatments, costs, evacuation and repatriation.
Moreover, Japan is prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. Travel insurance can reimburse nonrefundable expenses in case of trip interruptions or cancellations due to unforeseen weather events.
Japan is known for its adventure activities, with skiing and hiking being among the most popular options. In addition to protecting you against certain injuries, some travel insurance products offer coverage for lost or stolen sporting equipment and gear.
Cancel for Any Reason Coverage
With cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage, you have more flexibility to recoup financial setbacks in case of trip cancellation. Most travel insurance providers have a predetermined list of reasons as to when you can receive reimbursement for canceling a trip, including:
- Death of a family member or traveling companion
- Jury duty
- Unexpected court-ordered appointments
- Military orders
- Acts of terrorism or war
CFAR coverage guarantees protection for a range of additional reasons, including general decisions to change your plans. CFAR coverage is more expensive than standard travel insurance and typically costs 40% to 50% more than your standard insurance plan.
You cannot purchase CFAR insurance on its own when planning a trip to Japan. Most providers offer this coverage as an add-on benefit to your base coverage. However, companies may limit the timeframe in which you can upgrade to CFAR insurance and have limits on when to file a claim if you cancel your trip.
Gear Theft Protection
Theft and petty crime rates are low in Japan, making it one of the world’s safest destinations.
From the ancient traditions in Kyoto to the cherry blossoms in Kyushu, many visitors choose to capture their travels on camera or film. If you’re taking valuable equipment with you, travel insurance can protect you from financial loss. Here are some items that travel insurance may cover:
- Professional camera, tripod and gear
- Laptop, tablet or smartphone
- Sports equipment, like ski poles and protective gear
Most insurance policies have predetermined coverage limits, deductibles and exclusions. Check your policy wording to ensure you have coverage for valuable items you wish to bring on your trip. It may be best to leave irreplaceable items at home or locked in a hotel safe.
Medical Emergency Insurance and Emergency Medical Evacuation
Japan boasts a high-quality health care system, but you may face financial burdens if you need care without insurance. Some of the most reputable Japanese hospitals are St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo and Kyoto University Hospital in Kyoto.
Here is what’s generally included in medical travel insurance coverage:
- Hospital fees
- Medical care and costs
- Operating room fees and anesthesia
- Ambulance costs
- Emergency dental work
- Lab tests and X-rays
Standard travel insurance policies may not provide medical coverage for extreme sports and adventure activities, but certain companies (like Travelex) offer adventure sports add-ons. Whether mountain biking in Osaka or snowboarding in Hakuba, travel insurance for medical emergencies can offer necessary medical protection in the event of an emergency.
The majority of travel medical insurance plans cover emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. If you can’t receive health care locally, your policy will cover you against the cost of evacuation to your home country.
Rental Car Protection
You need an international driver’s permit that has been issued in your home country to rent a car in Japan. Driving a car in big cities like Tokyo can be expensive and inconvenient. With traffic jams and the possibility of car accidents, rental car insurance can offer protection in case something goes wrong.
You can purchase travel insurance with rental car coverage. Protection varies by provider so be sure to check the details when you buy travel insurance. Policies may cover the following:
- Collision damage
- Windshield protection
- Roadside protection
- Theft protection
In the case of a stolen or damaged vehicle, standard travel policies offer rental vehicle excess to help you manage the costs.
As an alternative to driving, you can purchase a rail pass and utilize Japan’s railway systems to get between major areas.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
If you have to call off your Japan trip before departure, trip cancellation insurance can protect you from financial loss. Trip cancellation insurance offers reimbursement for nonrefundable and prepaid travel expenses up to a certain amount. Here are some generally accepted reasons to file a cancellation claim:
- Dangerous weather conditions or natural disasters
- Hospitalization or serious illness
- Death of a family member
- Acts of terrorism
- Jury duty
As previously mentioned, purchasing CFAR coverage will give you more flexibility with trip cancellations.