I have a 2.5 week Osaka vacation soon (May 30 - June 16), and I was wondering if I need travel insurance.

I won't be doing any hiking or any physically demanding activities, so I was wondering if it's worth the cost of the insurance: $150.

I'm 20, very healthy, no sicknesses of any sort. Will travel insurance even be necessary? How can I gather the information I need to make this decision?

  • 1
    You can always get hit by a car, or a falling piano even if you are healthy.. or even flu.. $150 is nothing if you compare it to the price of an antibiotic prescription.. Feb 13, 2015 at 2:55
  • its almost always a good idea to get travel insurance, if you travel a lot, an annual travel insurance plan is very affordable. Alternatively most "Gold" level credit cards provide free travel insurance Sep 10, 2015 at 2:27

2 Answers 2


Yes, you probably should get insurance. travel.state.gov:

While medical care in Japan is good, English-speaking physicians and medical facilities that cater to U.S. citizens’ expectations are expensive and not widespread. Japan has a national health insurance system which is available only to those foreigners with long-term visas for Japan. ... Medical caregivers in Japan require payment in full at the time of treatment or concrete proof of ability to pay before they will treat a foreigner who is not a member of the national health insurance plan.

So basically, if you're hit by a bus or have a heart attack or something, you're going to be stuck with a large bill and could potentially even be denied care. Japanese hospitals tend to be a bit overloaded, every now and then a case of somebody dying after being denied entry to multiple hospitals makes the news, and not having insurance is certainly not going to help.

That said, simple doctor's consultations and the like are quite inexpensive in Japan even if you foot the bill yourself. So I'd look specifically for basic/catastrophic travel insurance that will cover you in cases of dire need, but has a high deductible/does not cover minor mishaps and thus has a lower premium.


Most travel insurance covers more than just your medical bills if you get sick or hurt on your trip, such as:

  • if you get sick or hurt at home before you leave, and have to cancel the trip, you can claim for the deposits and prepayments (eg plane tickets) you lose
  • if your illness or injury means you need to change your ticket to go home sooner or later, you can claim your change fees and any lost deposits
  • if a hotel burns down or an airline changes its schedules dramatically (think Iceland volcano) you can claim costs for the substitution

Look into the insurance you are considering to see all the coverage it offers. You may want it after all.

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