Insurance in Japan


Property insurance protects you against loss or damage to personal property, which includes homes and home contents. Standard homeowner insurance policies provide coverage for liability claims, medical payments to third parties, legal costs, as well as for damage to your home or contents caused by theft, fire, storms, smoke, frozen pipes, and ice or snow. Standard policies are typically about ¥20,000 – ¥40,000 for two years.


Since Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries, earthquake coverage is not included in standard insurance policies and must be obtained separately. Unless you add earthquake coverage to your policy, any loss or damage due to earthquake, or fire as a result of earthquake, will not be covered. Typical policies for earthquake coverage are usually about ¥10,000 – ¥20,000 for two years.
As a tenant – by law you are liable for all damages to your rented home or apartment caused by accidental explosion or fire, (originating from your apartment or home).


Automobile Liability Insurance
(Jibaiseki Hoken) – a compulsory type of auto insurance that protects against claims for legal liability arising out of auto accidents, including death or injury. This type of policy provides legal defense and pays sums necessary to settle claims against the insured person. This kind of standard compulsory insurance is paid together with a “Mandatory Inspection Fee”, (Shakken), when you first buy a car and every two years thereafter. This type of insurance is typically about ¥20,000 – ¥40,000 for two years. Note: When buying a new car the insurance and “Mandatory Inspection Fee” are covered for the first 3 years and is then renewed every two years thereafter.
Voluntary Automobile Insurance
(Ninni Hoken) – is an optional insurance policy that includes medical coverage, (for injury caused by accident), and collision protection, (which covers necessary repairs).

In addition, this type of insurance covers a person’s car against theft or any type of non-accidental damage such as windshield cracks caused by rocks. This type of coverage is more expensive and is usually about ¥100,000 – ¥200,000 for per year.


Japan’s health insurance system is designed to make sure that everyone can afford medical treatment in the event of sickness or injury. There are basically two types of compulsory medical securities in Japan. Everyone living in Japan must subscribe to the “Social Insurance System”, (provided for full-time workers in companies), or the “National Health Insurance System”, (standard insurance system in Japan).
Additionally, many expats in Japan will purchase (or will be provided with by their company) private medical insurance. Some medical service providers (particularly English speaking services designed for the expat community) are not covered under the Japanese medical insurance system. These providers are usually very expensive so if you anticipate using their services it is advisable to have private medical insurance.


This is a compulsory health insurance plan provided for full-time workers in companies. You and your employer will share the cost of insurance premiums and your payment will be automatically deducted from your monthly salary. At the time of payment, at the hospital or clinic, you will have to pay about 20% of the total cost. This is separate to private medical insurance.


The objective of National Health Insurance is to use the funds obtained from premium payments to reduce the medical bills associated with visits to doctors. Anyone who does not have Social Insurance provided by their company and has had a valid visa in Japan for a period greater than one year must obtain National Health Insurance.
National Health Insurance covers 70% of medical costs, while the patient pays the remaining 30%. Your insurance premium is based on your year’s income, so make sure to file your residents tax declaration even if you do not have any income to declare.


Soon after you register for Health Insurance you will be issued a Health Insurance Certificate, which you will need as proof of coverage. You should carry this certificate with you, (especially when you travel in Japan), for you will need to present your Health Insurance Certificate when you require medical attention. Your Health Insurance Certificate should never be lent to others


  • Normal pregnancies and childbirth; physical examinations; vaccinations; work-related injuries and illnesses covered by worker’s compensation are not covered.
  • If you become suddenly ill while traveling without your health insurance certificate you must pay 100% of your bill.
  • You may apply for a 70% reimbursement by presenting the receipt, certificates of medical remuneration, your insurance certificate, the savings passbook of the head of household, and your personal seal at the National Health Insurance Section at City Hall, or at your nearest municipal government office.
  • Medical expenses exceeding a specified amount for one month are not covered, but you may be reimbursed for the
    excess amount.
  • If the insured gives birth, she shall receive an allowance of ¥300,000.
  • If the insured dies, his or her survivors shall receive ¥40,000 for funeral expenses.
  • For more information or to apply for Health Insurance contact the National Health Insurance Section (usually on the first floor), at your local City Hall.