Travel Insurance for Italy - Why you need Travel Insurance when you Travel

Travel insurance for Italy is probably not high on your list when planning a trip, but it should be. You never know what may happen on holiday. From cancellation fees, unexpected health problems and medical costs, lost baggage or stolen goods  - any of these could turn your holiday to Italy into a nightmare if you don't have travel insurance.

Gone are the days when the Italian marshes bred mosquitoes and people died of malaria. Thankfully, these days, Italy is a safe country to travel around from a health perspective although there is always the chance of getting a case of diarrhea, breaking a limb on the ski slopes, taking a tumble down some steps,  or having a car accident.

We had a friend and his wife who had just spent the day with us at the Arezzo markets one Sunday ending up by being t-boned by an ambulance whose driver jumped a red traffic light in his haste to get home for lunch! It wasn't even as if he was transporting someone in an emergency. Eventhough it wasn't our friend's fault, it cost he and his wife time and aggravation dealing with Italian bureaucracy, car rental agents and hospital outpatients. And all they did to get them into this situation was to go when the traffic lights had turned green!

Italy is also notorious for pickpockets, especially in major cities and around well-known tourist spots. It is you that they are targeting, not the locals. They steal wallets, cameras, laptops, passports and even snatch bags while whizzing past you on motorbikes.

We had another friend who hadn't even gotten out of Milan airport when he realized that he had had both is wallet and his passport stolen.

Of course no one expects these things to happen, but they do. Make sure that you have insurance cover and be prepared for the unexpected!

Buying Travel Insurance for Italy

So where can you buy travel insurance for Italy?  Most travel agents,  insurance agents and tour operators offer specialized health-and-accident insurance, flight, trip cancellation and luggage insurance as well as comprehensive policies that may cover most, if not all of these features.

Comprehensive Travel Insurance for Italy

A comprehensive travel insurance is just that. It will be an all-in-one policy that usually covers almost every event that you could think of that may spoil a holiday from accidents, and health issues, lost baggage, death, cancellations or companies going bust and not being able to provide you with the holiday you have paid for.

If you don't take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy then you can purchase each of the policies below separately.

Make sure that your comprehensive travel insurance covers legal assistance and advice if needed.

Health-and-Accident Travel Insurance for Italy

Health-and-accident insurance is usually covered in a comprehensive travel insurance policy and they usually cover 3 main areas:

1) Reimbursement for any medical expenses that you may have to pay out while in Italy. Depending on your policy and how it is structured, the pay-out could be fairly basic where it only pays out $1000 or it could pay out $200, 000. Dental and glasses may also be included.

2) A personal accident, or death-and-dismemberment cover is included here where your beneficiary / beneficiaries will get a lump sum pay-out in the event of your death while traveling, which includes, but does not exclude flight travel, or if you lose either your sight or limbs.  Here again , depending on how the policy is structured the pay-out could range from $10, 000 - $500, 000.

3) Medical assistance where you may need to be flown out of Italy back to your home country for medical treatment.

Flight Travel Insurance for Italy

Flight insurance will pay your beneficiary/ beneficiaries a lump sum if you die in a plane crash.  Depending on how your policy is structured it might also pay out if you are  badly injured as a result of the accident where you lose a limb, eye sight, mobility etc.

You are usually covered for additional flight insurance if you buy your plane ticket with a major credit card company. Check your coverage as this may  included other forms of public transportation. You can also buy flight insurance at the airport.

Baggage Insurance for Italy

If you travel a lot you will have had lost bags at least once. It is more common than you think.

We were once stranded in Singapore for 4 days with no luggage as our luggage was sent on to its end destination despite the fact that we had planned to stay there for 2 weeks.  Just as well clothing was cheap to buy as eventually we were forced to buy several sets of clothes and shoes as we waiting for our luggage to be returned.

As we were young and inexperienced travelers at the time we had not insured our luggage and therefore we were not compensated for the amount of money we had spent. Luckily our bags were returned. It would have been a disaster had they not been returned in addition to not having luggage insurance.

If you have lovely clothes that you will need to replace if the airlines lose your bags then take out baggage luggage. What the airlines pay you for lost bags is a joke.

You should be covered for this by paying for your ticket using your credit card but double check when purchasing your ticket.  Otherwise, you can also get cover through travel agents and insurance companies which is either separate to, or included in, your comprehensive travel insurance.

Cancellations and Travel Insurance for Italy

If you buy trip insurance this covers you for 2 scenarios:

1) If you are unable to take the trip as planned due to some unexpected event known as trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

2) If the company that you have booked your trip through has gone bankrupt and cannot provide you with the holiday you have paid for, known as default or bankruptcy insurance.

Minimize your risks of having a company not being able to deliver the service by only buying a holiday from companies who are members of a well-recognized travel association in your home country that helps regulate the travel industry.

Always read the fine print on your insurance policies and know exactly what you are covered for, and entitled to, if you need to make a claim. Insurance policy writers are notorious for writing policies in such a way that it benefits the insurance house rather than the client.

For example, with default policies they often don't cover the defaulting of travel agents, tour operators, airlines or cruise operators.

Health Coverage for EU Travelers

For those of you from the UK or EU countries you are entitled to free health care in Italy if you get sick. Without it if something does happen to you while in Italy you will have to pay the full amount and then claim that back through the health system on your return.  

However, if you live in Europe you can apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is valid for 5 years. This card is free of charge. However, cover is for emergencies only. Any other medical treatment will need to be covered by private medical insurance. The EHIC replaces the E111.          

If you need medical aid you then present your EHIC to the nearest office of the INAM in Italy (Istituto Nazionale per l' Assicurazione contro le Malattie) where they will issue you with a certificate confirming your right to treatment and provide you with a list of doctors and clinics who are within the INAM scheme whom you can visit.

The EHIC is not an alternative to health travel insurance for Italy and it is still worth taking out additional insurance to cover cancellation fees, loss of personal possessions, mountain rescues off ski slopes, being medivaced and other emergency expenses as a result of your medical condition.

What to do when things go Bad

If you need to make an insurance claim while you are in Italy due to stolen or lost property you much get a copy of the police report (denuncia) when you first made your statement.  You will need to find the offices for the state police, la polizia who are different from the carabinieri who deal with security issues, organized crime and speeding traffic. La Polizia deal with  most crimes, including theft. Their offices are known as the questura or commissariato.

If you have lost your passport you need to contact your embassy within Italy and they will guide you with further assistance.

If you lose your traveler's cheques contact the issuing company's nearest office.

If you have an accident the emergency section (pronto soccorso) of any hospital will treat you.


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