Might be worth checking out
Another guest post for us today, this time by Aper21, talking about private, supplementary health insurance. This is a huge business in Japan, and selling it is a popular way for women to get back into work after having children (this leads to pressure and sales pitches from acquaintances, friends, and family members).
According to the excellent お金の教養, Japanese people spend far too much on insurance, so understanding your needs and what is available is really important. Today's post gives us some insights into the process and tools to find more information -just the kind of thing we like here at RetireJapan :)
Work: changing to part-time university positions
Personal: married; partner works full-time; hoping to have a child
Money: 1m yen in investments + around 6 months’ living expenses
"Googling health insurance, a number of (Japanese) articles on the very useful ナースフル website came up. Their first point is to remind you of the provisions of basic health insurance (which - yay! - you already enjoy).
Under these, you only pay 30% of your medical bill, and (unless you’re on megabucks) that 30% is capped at around 640,000 yen a year. Not nothing, but as the maximum payable having incurred for 12 months what would otherwise have been much larger medical bills, not that bad either.
Given this, ナースフル’s basic advice is to take out only the minimum amount of supplementary insurance necessary, for the minimum time necessary, and preferably none – in favour of increasing your savings instead.
Like a lot of people, my biggest fear in the next few years is illness that deprives me of an income while also incurring ongoing medical bills. Were I in a full-time position and with greater savings, or without a potential kid to worry about, as per ナースフル I would bank on the combination of those and my basic insurance being sufficient. As it is, I decided I would feel more comfortable with some extra cover.
The least-highly-unlikely of the highly-unlikely sources of this unpleasantness, at my age I decided would be cancer; not the likeliest source of hospitalisation, which would (by a distance) be some kind of accident, but the likeliest source of a long-term lack of income accompanied by medical expenses.
After being confused by various other policies, I ended up plumping for Rakuten’s Cancer Plus. This was largely because its clauses are relatively straightforward (which is also why ナースフル recommends it).
You may be less bothered about cancer and more about something else; always though, choose a policy that you can understand. If you need to, get help with the Japanese before signing anything.
Life insurance is a simpler decision than health insurance: if your death would put anyone in serious financial distress, you should get it. The amount of payout to choose is a little more complicated to figure out but boils down to:
(Beneficiary’s expenses over a chosen period, often until a child reaches 18 or 21)
(Current savings + Beneficiary’s income including salary and/or benefits over the chosen period).
Again, ナースフル are helpful on the subject.
Having decided on the sum I wanted, I used the neat kakaku.com’s insurance site to compare policies and found that the cheapest was Zurich’s. Mine is a little restricted in that you have to be a non-smoker with blood pressure between certain limits, and its duration is limited to 10 years.
N.B. One point to be clear on is that the policy you choose covers death either by accident or illness: some only cover one of these. Kakaku’s listings mention this.
In conclusion, while I am still a beginner on this subject and still not 100% reassured (thinking a lot about cancer, accidents and widowing my wife rather tends to have the opposite effect), I feel at least reasonably happy with my choices.
Hope this might help anyone who is considering buying insurance in Japan and feeling a bit overwhelmed."
Thanks, Aper21. Very useful! Hopefully this will help people navigate the treacherous waters of private insurance.
Another option is to ask an independent financial advisor to help you with this. It's exactly the kind of thing they are good at here.
Anyone else have any insights on finding appropriate insurance? What are you doing in terms of life and health insurance policies?