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How To Get Expat Life Insurance In Japan

How To Get Expat Life Insurance In Japan

avatar - Lee Doran

Lee Doran

Underwriting Manager

If you’re considering a move to Japan or already residing there, you may be considering life insurance. Perhaps you’ve recently started a family and wish to provide them with financial security should you pass away. Or maybe you’re worried your current life insurance plan won’t cover your mortgage abroad, leaving your loved ones struggling financially should anything happen to you.

However, navigating the world of life insurance for expats in Japan is challenging. Domestic policies are in Yen instead of your home currency. And language barriers with non-English speaking insurance agents are all too real. This communication gap and lack of flexibility can make policy decisions more difficult than you expected.

As a specialised insurance provider, William Russell can help. We’ve been supporting expatriates around the world since 1992. With us, you’ll find flexible plans you can tailor to your global lifestyle, ensuring you and your loved ones can face the future with confidence, no matter where your life journey takes you.

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How to get life insurance in Japan as an expat

There are two ways to find the right life insurance policy for you. First, you can use the services of a broker. Brokers will compare different insurance products to get you the best deal at the level of coverage you want. However, many domestic insurance providers will only offer life insurance to locals. As an expat in Japan, look for brokers who specialise in life insurance, specifically for foreign nationals.

Another option is to go directly to a provider specialising in life insurance for expats, such as William Russell. You can see prices quickly and schedule a call with a team member to ensure you get a life insurance policy that suits you and your family. You’ll also find the same prices with us, whether you contact us directly or use a broker.

How to get life insurance with William Russell

Becoming a William Russell life insurance member is straightforward. We can get your plan started in as little as 48 hours.

Here’s how to get a William Russell life insurance plan in Japan:

  1. Go to our online quote tool
  2. Select Japan as your country of residence, add your nationality and choose the amount you want to insure your life for. You can choose up to 20x your salary (maximum limit is US$2,000,000)
  3. See your price. You’ll see your expected monthly and yearly cost
  4. Fill out the application. If you want to proceed with your plan, just fill out the application form provided and send it off to our sales team. A medical exam may be required (more on this below). If you’d rather chat first, click contact us, and let us know the best way to reach you

Why choose a life insurance policy with William Russell

We’re a specialist international insurance provider, which means we focus on providing life insurance to expats like you living in Japan. Here are a few reasons to become a William Russell member:

Protect your family’s future

Our personalised plans offer a payout of up to 20 times your salary (up to US$2m). This means you can give your family the financial support they need should you pass prematurely.

With William Russell, you can:

  • Choose your beneficiaries, no matter where they reside in the world.
  • Select your preferred currency for premiums and lump-sum payouts (USD, GBP, or EUR).
  • Decide the frequency of insurance premium payments – monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly.

Worldwide cover for international citizens

We include global coverage on our life insurance plans to protect you wherever your travels as an expat may lead (with a few exceptions). This means you’ll have coverage living and working in Japan and travelling around the world as an expat.

Here is what we cover and what we don’t:

Cover Cause of death
Covered Common causes of death (cancer, heart attack, accident, illness)
Death while you’re living & working abroad
Death while you’re in your country of nationality
Covered after one year Suicide
Not typically covered Death from a pre-existing medical condition
Death from negligence, illegal activity, or drug or alcohol abuse
Death due to war or terrorism in a country the British FCDO advises its citizens not to travel to
Death not reported to us within 12 months
Death while you’re in Iran, Libya, North Korea, South Sudan, Syria or Yemen


Plans you can trust

Life insurance plans from William Russell are regulated by the Financial Services & Markets Authority (FSMA) in Belgium and by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. With 30+ years of experience and clients in over 150 countries, we’re proud of our 96% annual policy renewal rate. All our insurance plans (life, income protection, accident, and health) are insured by an insurance company within the Allianz group.

With our life insurance plans, you’ll have certainty that your family’s economic stability is safe no matter what happens to you.

Want to know why so many members renew with us?
Discover the reasons in this guide

Personalised support 

As a boutique-style insurance provider, we choose personalisation over automated call centres.

This means you’ll have a dedicated team member who manages your policy, provides clear guidance in fluent English, and helps you with queries and renewals. Our individualised approach is particularly important during challenging times, ensuring you or a bereaved family member can get the support they need.

We encourage sharing your William Russell contact’s details with your family, ensuring a smooth claim process if needed. Beneficiaries will have ample time (12 months from date of death) to file a claim if you pass away.

With William Russell, you’re not just another policy number – you’re a valued member of our community.

Our members appreciate our personalised service.
See member reviews and our 4.4/5 rating on Feefo

No further medical exams once your plan starts 

In some cases, we might require a medical examination before confirming your plan. Rest assured, we’ll reimburse your medical expenses for up to US$750 once you become a William Russell member.

However, once your policy is in effect, we stand by you. If you get sick and your health deteriorates, we won’t request further medical tests or alter our underwriting decisions.

Early payout for terminal illness 

If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of less than 12 months, you can access your life insurance benefit early in one lump sum. This way, you’ll have time to control where your finances go to remove some of the burden from your family.

Expertise in expat insurance

For complete protection, we also offer accident and income protection. This covers you for accidents that physically stop you from working and will ensure you don’t need to lower your lifestyle if you lose your source of income.

We also offer international health insurance to expats and their families in Japan so you can access the country’s top private medical facilities and English-speaking practitioners while avoiding additional costs.

Even though you’ll have separate expat insurance policies, you’ll have the same William Russell team member handling your plans. Having one main contact makes it easy for you to manage your insurance needs.

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International life insurance for global citizens

Our flexible life insurance plans are designed for professionals, couples, individuals, businesses, and the self-employed living abroad. Our specialised plans also cover anyone who plans to stay in Japan for a minimum of 6 months, ensuring even short-term expats have the protection they need.

We can also give you a group plan, which can cover your spouse and extended family or an international group policy for your employees. You can tailor the coverage of each individual in our group policies. For instance, we can offer your senior employees 5x salary benefits and junior team 2x salary benefits – or however suits your organisation.

What to look for in an expat life insurance policy

If you have a family, you likely understand the importance of life insurance – it ensures your loved ones have financial security if you pass away. As such, it’s important to make sure you take out a quality life insurance policy.Here are five things to look for in an expat life insurance policy:

  1. Level of coverage – Choose an expat insurance provider who can offer you a high level of coverage. You’ll want to ensure your family can cover a mortgage or pay for your children’s education after your death. Here at William Russell, we offer a payout of up to 20x your salary, or a maximum of US$2,000,000.
  2. Scope of coverage – As an expat, you’ll probably be spending time outside of Japan for business or pleasure. So, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your life insurance policy covers you while travelling. Go with a provider that provides global coverage.
  3. Easy-to-understand policies – Insurance documents can be complex and full of jargon, so always read insurance plans and terms before selecting a provider to make sure you know what you’ll be getting. 
  4. Flexibility – If you’re looking to cover a group, you might be reluctant to provide top cover for all your employees. Look for a provider that allows you to personalise levels of cover for your staff member for greater flexibility that aligns with your company’s goals.
  5. Terminal illness benefit. Some providers offer death benefits with payments only occurring after your passing. Instead, look for plans with terminal illness benefits that can give you a lump-sum payment if you have been diagnosed with less than 12 months to live.


Insurance costs will vary with each provider. The type of insurance selected and the specific coverage requested will also affect prices.

For example, life insurance prices will also depend on your age, occupation, and health history. Here are average premiums in Japan for a life insurance policy from William Russell:

Age Monthly Premium*
25 US$7
35 US$10
45 US$23
55 US$83
65 US$251

*premium for a healthy person with a life benefit of US$100,000 /em>

However, many domestic insurers may not extend health or life insurance coverage to expats in Japan. Look for international insurance providers, such as William Russell, who can cover you in Japan and beyond for health, life, and income protection.

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Yes, foreigners who live in Japan for more than a year need to enrol in either National Health Insurance (NHI) or Employees Health Insurance (EHI). However, these health insurance plans may not provide the level of coverage desired for foreign residents.

Expats often choose additional private health insurance with a specialised provider, like William Russell.

Find out more about our health insurance plans

It depends on whether your life insurance provider specialises in international coverage (many life insurance companies may only focus on domestic cover). William Russell, for instance, offers life insurance policies that cover expats (and even some locals) worldwide.

Learn how you can protect your family from financial burdens should you pass away while living overseas with our global life insurance.

Learn more about life insurance

Choose William Russell for your life insurance in Japan

As an expat living in Japan, you can keep up with your global lifestyle while ensuring your family is financially secure should anything happen to you with international life insurance coverage.

William Russell can help. With decades of experience and a deep understanding of the specific needs of expatriates, we designed our life insurance solutions to give your family the cover they deserve while living abroad.

Ready to explore your life insurance options?

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