Every traveler to Japan should take some time before departure to consider purchasing a travel insurance. Let’s take this opportunity to review the basics of insurances and assistances, depending on the type of trip.
The urban myth has it that most of us are unknowingly covered by many layers of insurances, from home insurances’ contracts to credit cards’ contracts against a wide range of possible risks. This legend is widespread for two main reasons:
- We don’t necessarily pay attention to guarantees and assistance contracts included in other insurance contracts subscribed for other purposes;
- The limits between insurance brokers and banks fade away as each of them are trying to invest on their respective markets.
The idea that we might be covered by several contracts is not necessarily wrong per se, but there are many conditions. Thus, most of bank issued payment cards offer a cancellation insurance (under specific conditions) that cancel or nullify those offered by travel agencies or airlines.
Most of us have subscribed various insurance contracts: liability insurance, home insurance, vehicle insurance, banking products insurance, credit card, and even social welfare insurance. The first thing to do is to read carefully the contracts already subscribed or contact the insurance company to check what is your actual coverage.
Be covered in case of an accident in Japan
The European Health Insurance Card is only of use within Europe, so you don’t need it to go to Japan. However, it can be a good idea to have a consultation with your primary care physician before departure for a health check and / or to receive a prescription for your usual medication (pain medication / analgesic, antihistamine, birth control medication, etc.) to help prepare your own medical kit.
In Japan, emergency numbers are 119, or 110 for the police. Tap water is potable, there is no rare disease and no vaccine is compulsory before traveling (check before departure, however, as it may vary according to your country or area of origin). Medical healthcare is very good, even though some practitioners’ questions might sound surprising. For example, if you have a stomach pain, the physician can ask if the pain is more "grr-grr" or"pic pic" to decide on a diagnosis.
However, most of the time, Japanese healthcare and hospital system might not be covered by your current health insurance contract. Depending on how much you want to spend for it, or need it, it is common sense to ensure having a good coverage. The longer your stay in Japan, the better insurance coverage should be.
It is possible to subscribe a travel insurance online. Kanpai Japan! suggests these companies’ products, with famous brands partnerships and well thought contracts for every kind of traveler:
(less than 3 months)
|Students / Internships / Au pair||Student / Internship
|WHV||Working Holiday||Working Holiday|
Most of them are affordable, so it is recommended and more secure to invest a little sum to avoid (very) bad surprises during your trip.
It is always good to know that you can rely on a travel insurance if necessary, even if you don’t want to take a chance on using it.