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Can foreigners staying in Japan purchase automobile insurance for their cars?

2020年01月24日

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Before getting into the topic about foreigners purchasing automobile insurance in Japan, let's first discuss the requirements for a foreigner to drive in Japan.  In order for a foreigner to drive in Japan, he or she must meet one of the three qualifications listed below:

  1.  Obtained a Japanese driving license while living in Japan
  2.  Exchanged their driver's license from their home country to a Japanese driver's license.
  3.  Has an international driving permit

 

car-insurance5-300x138.png

 

We see mostly number 2's and 3's, in particular number 2's, if the foreigner is going to stay in Japan for a longer period of time.  In order to exchange a foreign driver's license to a Japanese driver's license, you must

1) be 18 years old or older

2) have had your driver's license for at least 90 days in your home country before entering Japan

3) have eyesight of 0.7 or better for both eyes, with 0.3 or better per eye.

You will also need

1) A valid driver's license from your home country

2) Alien registration card

3) Copy of license translation

4) Passport

5) Photo (No smile! according to the rules)

6) 2400 yen to take the test and 2100 yen for the license

and go to your city police station (not the police boxes you see everywhere, kobans), or to a driving center (うんてんめんきょしょせんたー)and request to exchange your foreign driver's license to a Japanese driver's license.  There will be an eye exam and a written exam on driving rules in Japan、which most people will find incredibly easy.

 

car-insurance4-300x248.png

 

We see mostly number 2's and 3's, in particular number 2's, if the foreigner is going to stay in Japan for a longer period of time.  In order to exchange a foreign driver's license to a Japanese driver's license, you must

1) be 18 years old or older

2) have had your driver's license for at least 90 days in your home country before entering Japan

3) have eyesight of 0.7 or better for both eyes, with 0.3 or better per eye.

You will also need

1) A valid driver's license from your home country

2) Alien registration card

3) Copy of license translation

4) Passport

5) Photo (No smile! according to the rules)

6) 2400 yen to take the test and 2100 yen for the license

and go to your city police station (not the police boxes you see everywhere, kobans), or to a driving center (うんてんめんきょしょせんたー)and request to exchange your foreign driver's license to a Japanese driver's license.  There will be an eye exam and a written exam on driving rules in Japan、which most people will find incredibly easy.

 

 car-insurance-300x200.png

 

Now, let's get back to driving with an international driving permit.  The international driving permit must be issued by a signatory country of the 1949 Genova convention on Road Traffic.  Please also note that if  an international driving permit is obtained in Japan, the holder must leave Japan for at least three months for it to become valid in Japan.

After obtaining a valid driver's license in Japan, we can finally start with the procedure of obtaining a car insurance coverage.  Unfortunately, most Insurance companies only offer their services in Japanese, and the insurance documents are all in Japanese.  If a foreigner wishing to get insurance coverage for his/her car does not speak Japanese, fortunately, there are now many insurance agents which can offer you consultations and services in English.

 

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