Bits of Japanese Knowledge

Driving a car in Japan --Insurance

There are two types of automobile insurance in Japan: Mandatory Liability Insurance, which is mandatory under the law, and Automobile Insurance, which is voluntarily purchased by owners.

Mandatory Liability Insurance
This insurance is mandatory for car owners. Unless you take out this insurance you cannot drive a car on public roads. This is an insurance policy designed to rescue the victims of traffic accidents. The maximum amount of insurance payment for one victim in case of death or disability is 30 million yen and for injuries is 1.2 million yen. If the cost of compensation and treatment for the victim exceeds the Mandatory Liability Insurance payment limit then an Automobile Insurance is required to cover the excess cost, as well as the cost of compensation and treatment for the owner of the vehicle in which the accident occurred.

Automobile insurance
This insurance covers personal liability that exceed the limits for Mandatory Liability Insurance, property compensation, automobile accidents, compensation for insured persons and passengers, and compensation for the repair of vehicles involved in the accident. Insurance premiums may vary depending on the content, compensation limit, and purpose of use of automobile insurance. It may also vary depending on the insurance company and product as well. In general, if you are commuting by your own car, you may be required to obtain approval from your employer, subject to an automobile insurance policy. In case of NARO, the appropriate means of commuting should be consulted first with your host researcher and the person in charge of the host Institute/Center, including insurance coverage.

Dealing with accidents in multiple languages
Due to the recent increase in foreign tourists and residents the number of automobile accidents involving foreigners has been increasing. As a result, many Japanese insurance companies have started to offer services such as accident reports and road service requests in multiple languages.