Automobile Insurance

There are two types of Automobile Insurance in Japan

There are two types of car insurance in Japan: compulsory insurance and voluntary insurance. Car insurance is important to protect you from damages and injuries in an emergency situation. However, just getting a car insurance can be such a hard task if you are not confident in Japanese language. To help you clarify what to do when you choose a car insurance, this column will give you a brief overview on Japanese car insurance.

Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (CALI)

Under Japanese law, all registered vehicles must be covered by Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance. This compulsory insurance is very similar in concept to that mandated in other countries, and it is designed primarily to protect third parties from injury by any vehicle in an accident. Although compulsory insurance is effective, it is by no means adequate in providing coverage for the insured, property damage to third parties and it does not cover any repair or replacement for damage to the vehicle itself.

In Japan, compulsory insurance covers the following basic third party costs:

Limit of liability
Death: 30 million yen
Injury: 1.2 million yen
Residual disability: 750,000 yen – 40 million yen

Compulsory insurance usually included in the Shaken process (mandatory car check up).

Voluntary Automobile Insurance

Voluntary car insurance is voluntarily purchased by an owner of vehicle to cover damages or injuries that compulsory vehicle liability insurance does not cover. It insures a driver against damages or injuries while compulsory vehicle liability insurance covers a vehicle.

Also, the amount of insurance benefits of voluntary car insurance is determined by each insurance company while compulsory vehicle liability insurance payout is flat rate based. The coverage of voluntary car insurance covers the following areas.

  • Compensation or injury that exceeds the policy limits of compulsory vehicle liability insurance
  • Property damage
  • Self-inflicted accident
  • Coverage for the insurance holder
  • Coverage when other driver has no insurance
  • Repair of damaged vehicle
  • Roadside service

Please check OIST PRP 21.3.4 Personal Vehicle for infomration about use of personal vehicle at OIST


Please purchase insurance with English service

Resource Center strongly recommend you to purchace voluntary automobile insurance from the insurance company who you can communicate in English, especially in case of emergency.

CHUBB insurance and Meiji Yasuda insurance agency provides English service, and they are coming to OIST Resource Center everyweek, so please visit us if you are interested in their insurance.

  • CHUBB insurance (Wiltech): Every Wednesday, 11:00-15:00

  • Meiji Yasuda insurance: Every Friday 11:00-15:00 (pending for now)

Both insurance agencies have English speaking person when you sign the contract, and also there is English line for emergency.

There are some insurance company (mainly online) that offeres cheaper insurance. However, most of those insurance company does not provide English service. 


Resource center does not provide translation services for accident negotiation since it requires specific experience and knowledge. If you have Japanese-only insurance, please make sure to have professional translation service that you can use in case of an emergency.