The thing about travel insurance in general is that you really never know if you’ll be covered until you submit that claim.
The other thing about insurance is that you buy it hoping you never have to use it during your trip!
But if the unfortunate time comes that you DO have to use it… you will probably be glad that you did buy it!
Because just knowing that you bought it may help to relieve some stress during an otherwise stressful situation. (Since it’s probably only because of a stressful situation that arises that you’d have to use it!)
There was one time I was in Japan and a typhoon came through that shut down a major international airport. For DAYS this airport that I had a scheduled flight out of was closed. This typhoon happened on the day I was supposed to fly out of Japan. My travel insurance for this natural disaster covered my food, accommodation, and transport when I had to go to another airport to fly out! More on this in a bit.
What’s the best travel insurance for Japan?!
It’s not really possible to make sweeping generalizations about which travel insurance is best, because there can be different factors and it will depend on what’s most important for you.
I’m American and I have used World Nomads travel insurance for Japan (and other countries), and plan to for my next trip to Japan too. I’m now a partner of World Nomads.
The information on this page is generally speaking, and based on my experience and thoughts!
So be sure to check out what the current information is straight from the source.
Travel insurance for Americans
For specific information about Japan travel insurance for Americans, see here for what’s covered and how much it costs.
This includes information about delayed baggage, lost luggage, trip cancellation, medical expenses, and more.
Travel insurance for everyone else!
If you’re from the UK, Canada, Australia, or another country, see here for what’s covered and the cost too, just make sure to go to the part that says you’re not a US resident and input your country!
What makes World Nomads different from other travel insurance companies?!
Aside from the travel insurance actually working (I was reimbursed after my stay in Japan was extended because of a natural disaster), what’s the reason I like this travel insurance company?!
There are a couple of big reasons.
It’s for active travelers
One reason is that they cover a pretty wide range of physical activities.
This also offers coverage under the standard plan for high altitude hiking too. (aka climbing Mt Fuji!)
Although if you want coverage for a REALLY high altitude because you’re off to the Himalayas in India or Nepal after Japan or something, you’ll need to move up to the explorer plan.
But, for Japan’s highest altitude, the standard plan WILL cover it. (Check to make sure it’s still the same when you buy the insurance though! It can also vary by country.)
And in general, I find the World Nomads standard plan to be quite generous for the activities that are covered, when some insurance companies won’t even cover a leisurely bike ride around Tokyo!
Allianz is a popular travel insurance company in the US, and the last I looked, I found that they didn’t cover bicycle rides. I would guess that this also means they would consider hiking up Mt Fuji to be too risky of an activity and they wouldn’t want to cover that either. (I haven’t actually looked into it though!)
You can buy travel insurance after your Japan trip has started
The other main reason I really like World Nomads is because you can buy travel insurance even when you’re on the road.
This means that if you failed to buy insurance before you leave home, and you decide when you’re in Japan that you want insurance, you can get it!
Or, if you are on the road and end up making your trip longer than expected, you can buy more insurance too. I’ve done this.
There are other travel insurance policies that can ONLY be bought BEFORE your trip begins. (Again, when I checked Allianz, it was like this and this isn’t unusual for travel insurance companies.)
Although, don’t expect to be fully covered if you’re buying travel insurance AFTER you find out you’re in the path of a typhoon. It more or less applies to unexpected issues during your travels!
And finally a slightly smaller but still good reason…
It’s travel insurance made FOR travelers BY travelers
That sounds corny, but it’s true. 😉
It’s also recommended by top travel brands including the Lonely Planet.
How much does travel insurance for Japan cost?!
Once again, this can vary based on different factors.
Most notably, the length of your trip and the country you’re from.
See here to see how much it will cost for you.
The biggest “danger” or “safety” risk in Japan?
Travel insurance coverage for natural disasters
In terms of safety in Japan, the biggest risk or “threat” is probably a natural disaster.
Hopefully this won’t make you cancel your trip to Japan, but there’s actually a prediction that Japan is due for a MASSIVE earthquake in the coming years. (If it makes you feel any better, I’ve heard that being said about California too, although I think the threat for Japan is greater.)
Earthquakes and typhoons in Japan
Earthquakes are one form of natural disasters that aren’t uncommon in Japan, and typhoons (aka hurricanes or cyclones in other parts of the world) are another form of natural disasters that aren’t uncommon.
In fact, when I was in Japan in summer 2018, there were 2 typhoons that came through in the area I was (Kyoto and Osaka) in a short 2 or 3 week period!
The first typhoon didn’t have too much of an impact on me other than not being able to do any activities because the local transportation was cancelled.
The second typhoon resulted in my flight back to the US being canceled with no new flight immediately scheduled.
There was also a major earthquake that happened when I was in Japan (near Sapporo, Hokkaido), but I wasn’t anywhere near there.
And less likely, but still a risk in Japan is the chance of volcano eruptions interrupting your travel plans.
So, natural disasters DO happen in Japan.
Again, hopefully this doesn’t make you want to cancel your trip!
Travel insurance is about assessing your risk, and unfortunately, natural disasters are one of the risks to think about for your trip to Japan.
When is typhoon season in Japan?
While earthquakes can happen at any time, typhoons can at least be a little more predictable based on time of year.
Typhoon season is officially said to be from around June to November, although the greatest typhoon activity is generally in August and September.
So you may also consider that there may be an increased risk of travel delays during this time, even if you are not in the direct path of a typhoon.
You can think of it as being a similar risk of flying in the winter in the US – you never know when a blizzard is going to hit that will lead to flight delays or flight cancellations.
Similarly, you don’t know exactly when a typhoon will hit that could potentially lead to delays and cancellations at the airport.
Your airline will likely provide an alternate flight for you with no extra cost to you if your flight changes due to a natural disaster.
But if you are forced to stay overnight in that city because of that delayed flight, that’s when travel insurance can come in handy!
Accommodation and food can be covered, as can any associated transportation costs, like getting to an alternate airport that’s further away.
Making stressful travel in a foreign country less stressful
When an unexpected issue strikes when you’re traveling, you might be scrambling to figure out what to do.
If you have travel insurance, at least you can be a little less stressed knowing you probably won’t be paying out of pocket for all of the sudden extra expenses that you’re forced to incur!
I know I was happy to know when I was forced to stay in Japan for a few extra days that all expenses occurred would be covered! (Well actually, since you never know if claims will be approved, I was still a little nervous, but it definitely made me feel much better knowing that I probably wouldn’t be paying out of pocket!)
So my flight was scheduled for the same day a major typhoon was going to be passing through the area.
This led to basically ALL forms of public transportation being canceled.
And I never did make it to Kansai airport KIX that day.
There’s a bridge to the airport and they blocked off all access.
But I tried to make it to the airport.
And so did everyone else. 😉
Everyone was trying to get to the airport before the typhoon hit, but well, failure. 😉
It was better that way, since the airport ended up becoming non-operational after the typhoon!
But I did make it to the LAST train station before the airport. So a 20 minute train ride from the airport. So close yet so far… 😉
And the Izumisano train station is where I rode out Typhoon Jebi with a TON of foreign tourists.
And then power went out at one part of the train station.
After the typhoon passed, we were told that the airport was damaged and that the airport is going to remain closed.
On top of that, there was no timetable for when public transportation was going to resume from the train station we were at.
So, what to do?!
This is when it’s very helpful to be with a TON of other tourists!
We were provided (presumably by the local government) with transportation to a nearby mall.
There, we were given some food, emergency blankets, and… floor space to sleep. 😉
The next day, we were taken back to the train station where we came from.
It’s kind of a big deal when a major international airport shuts down and tons of tourists are stranded at the train station. News reporters were here!
It took a few hours, but eventually the trains started running again.
And then… I took a train to Namba station in Osaka, and I stayed in Osaka for a few days waiting for my flight back to the US!
In a few days, my airline eventually offered a flight out of a different airport – Nagoya airport.
In the meantime, I spent money on accommodation, food, and transportation for the extra days I was in Japan – and I’m happy to say that all of these expenses were reimbursed by my travel insurance with a claim! (You’ll want to make sure you have receipts for everything!)
HAPPY JAPAN TRIP PLANNING!