HOW TO BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE TO JAPAN
When going overseas a travel insurance to Japan policy to cover loss or theft of valuables and medical problems is an essential part of planning. Selecting insurance policies can be a tricky affair without careful research. Some insurance policies will specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ such as scuba diving, back-country skiing and mountain trekking. Naturally if the plan is to participate in risky activities in a foreign country like Japan then an insurance policy that covers them is essential. When an emergency happens, time is always of the essence. For a foreigner traveling to Japan language can be a problem, particularly if traveling outside major metropolitans where locals are even less fluent in English. Is wise to plan ahead and carry important contact information with you at all times. Some of the best apps for smartphones can help you with language or contact information so be sure to utilize it as a tool for help.
icon-folder WHAT DOCUMENTS TO BRING WHEN YOU TRAVEL
It is absolutely essential you bring your travel insurance to Japan card or other certificate of insurance with you. It is highly plausible that Japanese hospitals will refuse treatment to foreign patients without proof of medical travel insurance for Japan .
icon-medkit MEDICAL INSURANCE
There are several types of medical insurance policies, each with different considerations. One type pays doctors or hospitals directly. A second type requires the traveller to pay on the spot and file a claim later making it important to keep all medical documentation. Other policies will ask you to contact a call centre in your home country at which time an immediate assessment of your problem is made. Whichever policy you choose be sure to check that it covers ambulance fees and emergency flights home – both of which would be very costly should you have to pay out of pocket.
icon-check-circle CHECKLIST OF ITEMS TO LOOK FOR IN AN INSURANCE POLICY
- be sure to read the small print before buying a policy and make sure you are covered for everything you need
- if you buy a regular travel insurance policy check that they don’t require you to have a return flight ticket home.
- make sure you are allowed to buy the policy when already traveling in case you need to renew it
- medical coverage is the top priority so make sure it includes emergency evacuation (eathquakes happen in Japan) as well as repatriation (emergency return flight)
- if you are going to be participating in risky activities like backcountry skiing, white water rafting or mountain climbing be sure your policy covers you (often you need to pay extra fees for risky activities)
- consider purchasing a winter sports policy for the time you are in the mountains that covers skiing and snowboarding
- valuables like smartphones, cameras and computers will probably require extra fees
- baggage cover and cancellation fees are often covered with the airplane ticket purchase (no need to pay twice)
- if you might continue travelling to other countries the choose a worldwide policy
- double-check the excess fee (the amount you willl have to pay towards any insurance claim in the event of an accident). The higher the excess fees the cheaper the insurance policy – make sure you can afford any excess fees otherwise get more coverage.
World Nomads are a well respected travel insurance company that allow you to buy a policy when you are already travelling. The World Nomads policy is more comprehensive and includes baggage and cancellation.
Another option is True Traveller which offers a one year worldwide policy at a reasonable cost with less coverage than others.
For US citizens the following is a list of Travel Insurance Companies to consider:
- IMG Global—Medical insurance if you spend less than six months a year in the US. It also provides cover when you are in the US which most travel insurance policies don’t.
- Clements—An option for covering your electronics.
EUROPE & UK
We have used True Traveller for two years now and it’s the best value, most digital nomad friendly policy we’ve found for UK and European citizens. They really understand the needs of long term travellers and you can tailor the policy to suit you, choosing the most basic medical insurance or adding extras like baggage, electronics, cancellation, activities, and winter sports cover. I find their site very user friendly and easy to understand. They were originally an adventure travel company, not an insurance company. Their policies are designed by travellers for travellers and it shows.
Most importantly, True Traveller allow you to buy a policy when you are already travelling and without a return ticket, so it’s ideal for digital nomads and long term travellers.
We have the True Value worldwide policy with the Adventure Pack add on to include high risk activities like white water rafting and horse riding. Many activities are included as standard so check the list and you might not need extra activity cover. We renewed our policy in November 2013 and paid £318 each for a year. It was the cheapest policy I found.
If you’re travelling overseas you don’t want to worry about the what-ifs, but it is better safe than sorry. Unfamiliar surroundings, cultures and languages can be overwhelming, but having comprehensive travel insurance in place can mean you have one less thing to worry about on your trip.
Bupa International Travel Insurance offers comprehensive policies to suit all levels of travellers, from the novice to the seasoned traveller, covering international medical expenses, luggage and personal effects, and cancellation and rescheduling. There are minimum levels of cover required depending on where you are travelling, but you can always upgrade your cover to get additional protection for valuables or higher limits for some claims.
Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance plans to offer travel insurance to Japan-bound Filipino tourists beginning next month. The nonlife insurer’s Philippine unit will offer policies that allow travelers from the Philippines to receive cash-free medical treatment at about 200 participating hospitals and clinics while in Japan. They will also have access to a 24-hour translation service in English or Chinese at medical facilities. Sompo Japan Nipponkoa already provides similar insurance policies to tourists from Singapore and Thailand. Japan is a preferred destination for many Filipinos. Visitors from the Philippines surged 70% to about 180,000 last year, outpacing Indonesia and Vietnam, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. The Japanese government last year eased visa requirements for Filipino visitors, while airlines have added direct flights between the countries. The number of Filipino tourists traveling to Japan is expected to continue to rise with such incentives as domestic-demand-driven economic growth in the Philippines and the weak yen
icon-hand-o-right IT’S YOUR DECISION
Whatever you decide, make sure you do buy travel insurance. The real test of an insurance policy is when you have to make a claim for an unexpected accident. If something happens on your trip to Japan or other countries you will want to be covered by insurance or it could end up costing you more than you can afford.