A Simple Guide to Home Insurance in Japan

Post date: Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Living in Japan as a foreigner, you may face challenges due to culture shock, language barriers and just plain cross-cultural misunderstanding. But beyond these obvious daily experiences, foreign residents may also have to overcome hurdles in times of stress or disaster. When you own or rent a property in Japan and something goes wrong, what do you do? While the best plan is to prepare ahead with relevant insurance as you would in your own country, finding and buying home insurance in Japan can be tough even if you speak Japanese well. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

In addition to explaining the basic coverage and cost of a typical Japan insurance policy for home or rental, this handy guide also includes a list of English-speaking insurance agencies in Tokyo to help you make the best decisions possible during your stay.

Home Insurance in Japan: The Basics

Fire Insurance

When you rent or own a home or business in Japan you need fire insurance. In fact many apartments require fire insurance in their leasing contract.

Simply stated, fire insurance covers your prized possessions in the case of damage by fire, smoke etc. But the great news is that your plan will also usually cover other damages, caused by events as common as the following:

  • When a wayward toddler breaks your computer or the antique pottery you’ve collected in your travels.
  • When your washing machine gets overexcited and overflows, soaking your floor and the neighbors room downstairs.
  • When you are practicing to be the next David Beckham and your soccer ball takes a dramatic turn, hitting and injuring someone nearby.

How much does fire insurance cost?

Average fire insurance in Japan costs between ¥20,000 - ¥40,000 for 2 years, with the price being a bit higher depending on what other options you choose to add. Of course, you should check with your insurance company both for the exact prices and possible additions to your plan.

What does it cover?

Fire insurance coverage mainly includes these 3 categories:

Home Contents

- Designed to keep your possessions safe. The cost of your policy will be decided based on your valuables. This figure is set in broad groupings with coverage limits and not as an itemized plan more commonly available in other countries

Tenant Liability

- This covers accidents causing damage inside the home or even to your neighbor’s units. Things like an overflowing bathtub, a gas fire when someone forgets that frypan full of potatoes on the stove or other mishaps.

Personal Liability

- This very helpful part of Japan insurance plan covers you in case someone’s property is damaged or they become injured either due to an accident involving you or through negligence on your part. For example, if you are in a bike accident and run into someone on the street, this part of your insurance plan would cover medical costs and property damages for the other person involved.

Please note that some companies provide insurance for their international employees living in Japan on temporary contracts. You should confirm if this is the case for you and ask for details of what is included in your coverage. You might still want to add a Japanese fire insurance policy to make sure you are covered for household emergencies and accidents.

Although it may seem as if earthquakes should be part of this coverage, in reality regular fire insurance in Japan does not cover natural disasters. Fortunately there is an additional insurance option, appropriately called earthquake insurance, that is there to help in those dangerous situations.

Earthquake Insurance

As you probably already know, living in Japan means that it is necessary to prepare for earthquakes. However, Japan insurance policies dictate that fire insurance does not cover damage caused by earthquakes, including fire-related damage that may spread as a result of one. Therefore it is essential to add additional earthquake insurance to your policy. Be aware that you can only get this coverage as an add-on, as it is not sold as a stand alone product. Japan Earthquake Insurance Guide: A Simple Q&A

How much does earthquake insurance cost?

According to Japan’s Ministry of finance, earthquake insurance policy fees are different in each prefecture with the minimum cost being around 6500 yen and the maximum around 32,600 yen per year. Please see their website for further details.

Ministry of Finance Japan: Outline of Japan’s Earthquake Insurance System

What does it cover?

Earthquake insurance is exclusively for earthquake disasters. It covers loss of your personal items (including household goods) as well as property damage caused by fire, destruction, landslides, and rubble or water damage, assuming that all of the former happened as a result of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunami.

Please note that your add-on earthquake coverage will not cover precious metals, jewels and antiques with values exceeding 300,000 yen per item or per set, currency, securities, deposits and savings certificates, revenue stamps, postage stamps, or automobiles.

Getting your Japan Insurance Policy Needs Met

When either renting or owning property in Japan, choosing, purchasing and maintaining insurance to help cover the costs of damage, loss, liability and earthquake and disaster damage is crucial for your safety and peace of mind.

While we understand that some may choose coverage with firms outside Japan, we would like to help you make the best policy choices for you and your family in the country you will be calling home for the next few months or years.

To that end, we have compiled a short list of English-speaking insurance companies that can give overall policy advice, provide an estimate and help you file all the necessary documentation. They will give you a clear understanding of your policy and all the costs involved so that you can feel comfortable and confident in your choice of insurance coverage.

English Speaking Home Insurance Companies in Tokyo

Pliant

  • From fire insurance estimates and explanations of policy details to follow-up consultations, the staff delivers native-level service in English, Chinese, and Korean. Pliant strives to provide not only insurance but also peace of mind to foreign residents.
  • https://www.pliant.jp/ (Japanese)
  • 03-5259-8560

TRINITY INC

Mojumdar

Chubb Insurance

This western-style house with the structure of conventional construction method is located in a high-class residential area of Shoto. It features a carefully designed interior arrangements to the details that include fine furniture and auto-locking entrance door with SECOM fingerprint verification (requires a separate contract). It comes with a tea room with tatami mats, where you can feet the history of the Shoto area which used to be a tea garden.

JPY 1,100,000/month

'World City Towers.' As high-end condominium complex, it is Japan's largest project. Supermarket, banks, nursery and other ample services for residents. Shuttle bus to Shinagawa Station. It provids various facilities and services; fitness gym, pool, sky view lounge, concierge serivce, etc.

JPY 265,000/month

Located in a mid-point between Shibuya and Daikanyama. It is a luxurious apartment built with a seismic isolation structure, which stands peacefully in the 11,000sq.m large premise where many seasonal trees and plants grow.

JPY 294,000 - 375,000/month

Exterior of DIANA COURT SANGENJAYA
Sale Property tag
Brandnew

Sangenjaya station is only a 6-minute walk away, and there are many supermarkets and drugstores such as Seiyu, Maruetsu, and Shimamura, as well as financial institutions and educational facilities close by. Around the station, there is an arcade and a shopping street full of old and new stores, creating a mature living environment where you can experience the richness of everyday life.

JPY 123,900,000

Exterior of Park Court Ebisu Hilltop Residence
Sale Property tag

It is a luxurious condominium with 14 floors located on the hill top in a quiet residential area close to Yebisu Garden Place. Nearby Yebisu Skywalk is available for access to Ebisu Station and is comfortable in rainy days. Passing through plants and greens along the entrance approach, the hotel like entrance hall and the lounge space welcome you; the inside passages and other common use facilities create high class images. The room equipment is high grade including a bathroom dryer and built-in water purifier. The security system is fully arranged such as security cameras and 24 hours manned management in connection with ALSOK. In addition to Yebisu Garden Place, commercial facilities, various shops and restaurants around Ebisu Station are within a daily living area. It is an attractive location for enjoy whole Ebisu area, which is one of the most popular places to live in Central Tokyo.

JPY 134,800,000

Exterior of DEUXFLE base Minami-azabu
Sale Property tag

Designer low-rise maisonette apartments, with rooftop terrace. The project won a Good Design Award in 2012 by architect Hirotaka Satoh. It is walking distance to the Azabu Juban shopping and restaurant area, Arisugawa Park and Hiroo. Shinohashi shopping street in Shirokane is also close. Tokyo International School and Higashimachi Elementary School are in neighborhood.

JPY 112,000,000