hoken o kakeru
to mention or hint at a lack of confidence in oneself or use hedging language to mitigate the risk of being blamed later; to hedge against failure/accusation; to cover one’s arse
Also 保険を掛ける in kanji.
People often “insure” themselves by expressing a lack of confidence or making an excuse before doing something challenging or risky so that they won’t embarrass themselves too much when they actually fail. Similarly, when they share some knowledge that they remember only vaguely (i.e. うろ覚え), they often “insure” themselves, saying “合っているか分からないけど” meaning “Though I’m not sure whether it’s correct”. In particular, it is often said that some people from Kansai (and also young people from other areas nowadays) often use 知らんけど (“I’m not sure tho”) to “insure” themselves after they say something, as in “もうすぐ雨やむんちゃう？知らんけど。”, meaning “It will stop raining very soon I guess? I’m not sure tho”.
(Also, I’ve seen an interesting tweet on Twitter (in Japanese) which says that when people use the English expression “one of the best …” (which doesn’t exist in Japanese), they kind of “insure” themselves because they avoid making a definitive statement and don’t mention which one is actually the best.)
I made an excuse in advance, saying, “Today, my condition doesn’t seem to be good.”