Japan is one of the safest places on the planet to travel to. It has one of the lowest rates of crime in the world,1 extremely safe forms of transport for its citizens and visitors, and the people are very accepting of travellers from virtually anywhere on Earth.
In fact, Japan ranks ninth in the world for its peace score in the Global Peace Index 2019, four spots ahead of Australia.2 It was also Australia’s fifth favourite international destination, with more than 499,000 Australians visiting Japan in 2019.3
All that being said, nowhere on Earth is 100% safe. Despite Japan being the ninth most peaceful country in the world, you still need to ensure you’re protected in the event you get sick, you miss a flight, or your luggage ends up in the Bermuda Triangle.
Yes, you can never guarantee an incident-free trip when you travel, but you can account for this by taking out travel insurance. Here’s what you need to know about getting covered for your trip to Japan.
We believe that you should always take out travel insurance for Japan, no matter your travel plans. It’s impossible to predict what may happen when on holidays; perhaps you fall and sustain an injury or eat some questionable food and end up in the hospital. As well as medical costs, travel insurance can cover you for cancelled travel plans and lost or stolen luggage.
With the right policy, travel insurance can help you out of these situations. What’s more, the Australian government can’t help you in every situation you may find yourself in overseas, so it’s essential to have more than one option for help should something happen.
Any travel insurance for a trip to Japan should endeavour to cover – at minimum – emergency medical expenses and stolen luggage. This way, you’re covered in worst case scenarios. There is a variety of cover available, however, that will suit different travellers’ needs.
Skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports are some of Japan’s best tourist attractions. Although extreme and winter sports are usually excluded from travel insurance policies, most insurers do offer cover for these as an optional extra. The little extra you pay in premiums is offset by the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re covered for many accidents that can occur.
Additionally, if you’d prefer to drive around the country rather than fly or take the train, you should consider a travel policy that can help cover the rental car excess in the event of a crash or theft. A policy that covers medical costs would also be a smart purchase.
Travel insurance is a wonderful thing, but it can’t cover everything under the sun. That’s why it’s important to read and fully understand what your policy does and doesn’t cover before purchasing. Exclusions may differ from insurer to insurer, but here’s a list of some commons ones you might find in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
Illegal activities. If your claim results from an incident where you knowingly did something reckless, high-risk or unlawful, it will likely be rejected by your insurer.
Pre-existing medical conditions. You may find some insurers cover a medical condition you had prior to departing on your holiday as an optional extra (for a higher premium), but this will vary by policy.
Intoxication. If you were drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident you are claiming for, it will likely be rejected.
Travelling against government warnings. As we mentioned above, your travel insurance for Japan may not cover you if you enter a region with an active warning from Smartraveller.
Extreme and winter sports. Pertinent to Japan is the exclusion of claims resulting from extreme and winter sports, as these are deemed high-risk activities.
Earthquakes, typhoons, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. While you can’t really do anything about natural disasters, you can control how you respond to them. Make sure natural disaster cover is included in your travel insurance policy.
If you purchase travel insurance for Japan before the natural disaster becomes a known event, your insurer could cover your expenses if you have to cancel prior to departure.
As a general rule, don’t venture into any regions with active travel warnings. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will issue such warnings on the Smartraveller website.
If something happens after you’ve already travelled into the area, you shouldn’t have any problems making a travel insurance claim, provided the policy covers such an event.
Japan accounts for 110 of the world’s active volcanoes.4 Volcanic ash can be detrimental to human health and can cause long term health issues. It can also cause flight cancellations, leaving travellers unable to go on holidays or come back home.
Thankfully, natural disaster cover can make alternative travel arrangements or even reimburse your holiday! Find out more about how travel insurance can protect your holiday from volcanoes and ash clouds.
The Australian government advises Australians to stay away from certain regions of Japan. As of 2019, restricted zones include areas near Fukushima Dai-chi power plant.
Japan has an exceptionally low crime rate. But that doesn’t mean crime doesn’t exist in the land of the rising sun. Keep a close eye on your belongings when in public places, be wary of your drinks when out at night, and travel with others wherever possible (safety in numbers).
1 Mai Sato – The Conversation. (2019). Despite Japan’s low crime rates, it’s seen a number of mass stabbings in the last decade. Accessed 15 June 2020.
2 Institute for Economics & Peace. (2019). Global Peace Index 2019: Measuring peace in a complex world. Accessed 15 June 2020.
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2020). 3401.0 – Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, Apr 2020. Accessed 15 June 2020.
4 Smart Traveller. (2020). COVID-19 and travel: Japan. Accessed 15 June 2020.