You could travel to Italy and play it safe. You could find a nice cafe’ and settle in somewhere sunny (the small towns outside of Florence are nice) – not needing to budge an inch until you have to get back on the plane.

However, you’ll miss out on so much of what Italy has to offer! Venture north to Venice and you’ll be dazzled by the canal city’s architecture. Venture west from there to Lake Garda – an impossibly pretty region you may remember from one of the latest James Bond films. Snake your way down to Rome or Pompeii to gaze upon thousands of years of history, and then keep going all the way to the Amalfi Coast, where charming coastal communities await.

But if you want to do any of that, a bit of protection may be prudent. Here’s why travel insurance for your trip to Italy is a smart move.

Most common travel risks in Italy (that insurance will cover)

Delays & cancellations

This is particularly important for anyone who plans their holidays to the hour: you cannot control everything that happens on your trip. Maybe your plane gets delayed by weather and you miss your Tuscan bike tour – incurring a cancellation fee. Guess what though? Travel insurance will make sure you don’t pay for these kinds of costs, depending on what kind of policy you have.

Car accidents

You’ll require an international driver’s permit (IDP) to drive on Italian roads, but it’s worth it – you’ll experience some of the finest landscape passing you by as you travel. Your insurance policy will most likely have specific conditions that you’ll need to fulfil in order to be covered, e.g. driving on the right side of the road, no drinking and driving, wearing a helmet when on a motorbike, etc. But, it may cover your rental car excess if the vehicle gets damaged.

Motorcycles are another popular mode of transport in Italy (not everyone travels by Gondola)…but be careful not to end up flying from the bike in your pursuit of ‘embracing the culture’. Wear a helmet, and travel safely

Thieves

Here are just a few ways you can be ‘relieved’ of your belongings in Italy:

  • credit card skimming
  • pick pocketing
  • bag snatching
  • fake tickets offered to you when you’re waiting for an attractions with a long line

As a precaution, lock your doors as you drive, keep money and passports well concealed, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. It’s comforting to know that travel cover should help cover the cost of stolen goods though. It also look after lost luggage expenses, although exclusions apply if you left it unattended.

Medical attention

Australia and Italy share a reciprocal health care agreement. Because of this, you can seek public medical treatment while on your trip (as well as trips to 11 other nations). There are a little more than 4 doctors per 1,000 people in Italy, which is slightly more than most OECD countries apparently. The OECD also reports that patients receive a relatively high quality of care, as of a 2014 review of the Italy’s healthcare system.1All this is great news. Even without travel insurance, you still have access to public healthcare.

However, several other sources do note that the food and turndown service at these hospitals is nothing flash.2,3 Additionally, if you require medical evacuation, or require prescription medication, you may have to shoulder these costs yourself.

Because of these reasons, travel insurance is a must if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of owing large amounts of money. Not only are the above costs covered under your travel cover, but you’ll also have access to private hospitals.

  • What about vaccinations? You won’t need any to enter Italy, but there are a few that may be wise. Consider getting the Influenza vaccine, as well as one for Hepatitis A. For up to date information, consult your local GP.

Activities to get covered for

  • Cycling. Touring France and Italy on bicycles is the dream of any cyclist. Don’t let this dream become a nightmare, especially since Italian roads can be precarious, old, and busy with commuters.
  • Get your mountain ‘goat’ on. Italy is bordered by Switzerland and Austria, which means it’s heaven for mountaineers, hikers, explorers and skiers.
  • Water activities. Italy sits across from such natural beauties as Montenegro and Croatia. In between is the Adriatic Sea, perfect for all manner of activities, depending on where you are along the coast. Whether it’s skiing, sailing, or simply floating – take the proper precautions.

Things to remember

  • Look to travel in May – it should be nice and warm, but you’ll arrive before the mass of crowds that come for summer.
  • Take part in the common courtesies when in Italy (e.g. dress appropriately in church, embrace the siesta, etc.)
  • Italy lies in the Schengen Area, meaning it has very open borders and little VISA restrictions for Aussies.
  • If you’re travelling more of Europe than just Italy, you should check that your insurance policy covers multiple regions. This can be quite handy, given Italy borders France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia, and is just a ferry ride away from Croatia and Greece.
  • In the event of an emergency, call 112 for ambulance, police, or fire brigade – anywhere in the EU.

If you’re already in Europe, consider some other countries for your holiday! Our guide to travel insurance per country will help you pick a winner.

Sources

  1. http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/still-too-much-variation-in-health-care-quality-across-italian-regions.htm
  2. https://www.justlanded.com/english/Italy/Italy-Guide/Health/Hospitals-Clinics
  3. http://www.fodors.com/community/europe/trip-report-my-encounter-with-the-italian-hospital-system.cfm

N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.