You could travel to Italy and play it safe. Perhaps find a nice cafe and settle in somewhere sunny (the small towns outside of Florence are lovely), without needing to budge an inch until you need to get back on the plane. However, you’ll miss out on so much of what Italy has to offer!
Travel north to Venice and be dazzled by the canal city’s architecture. Venture west from there to Lake Garda – an impossibly pretty region you may remember from the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace. Make 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.
If you want to do any of that, let us explain why considering purchasing travel insurance for your trip to Italy is a smart move.
Do I need travel insurance for Italy?
The decision to purchase travel insurance depends on your individual circumstances, needs and budget. Travel insurance can help provide a safety net in cases where you require medical services, have luggage stolen, flights are delayed or cancelled and various other instances. Any of these scenarios could potentially cost thousands of dollars, which would all come out of your own pocket if you didn’t have travel insurance.
Why not avoid these additional expenses and use that money instead for fine Italian food and wine?
Travel insurance policies provide varied levels of cover, so it’s important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). When you compare with us, you can read the policies’ PDS online before you select a policy.
What should my travel insurance policy for Italy include?
When travelling anywhere around the world, it’s advantageous to have travel insurance that has medical cover for emergency evacuations, medications and private hospital admissions (if needed). Other scenarios you should consider may include lost and stolen baggage, along with flight delays and cancellations. The level of cover will depend on the insurance policy purchased.
Common risks in Italy that travel insurance may cover
Delays and cancellations
You can’t control everything that happens on your trip. Maybe your plane gets delayed by weather conditions, and you miss your Tuscan bike tour – incurring a cancellation fee. However, travel insurance may cover these kinds of costs, depending on the type of policy you have.
You’ll require an international driver’s permit (IDP) to drive on Italian roads, but it’s worth it – you’ll see some of the finest landscapes Italy has to offer while you’re driving. Your insurance policy will insist you obey the law at all times. So, it’s important to be mindful of:
- driving on the right side of the road;
- not drinking and driving;
- wearing a helmet on motorbikes; and
- other road rules you’ll have to take into consideration.
Travel insurance can also cover your insurance excess if your rental vehicle gets damaged.
Here are just a few ways you can be ‘relieved’ of your belongings in Italy:
- credit card skimming
- bag snatching
- fake tickets for attractions.
As a precaution, lock your doors as you drive, keep money and passports well concealed, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. However, it’s comforting to know that travel insurance could help cover the cost of stolen goods. It also looks after lost luggage expenses, although exclusions apply if your belongings are left unattended or if you don’t take steps to protect your possessions.
Australia and Italy share a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), which allows you to seek public medical treatment while on your trip (as well as several other European nations).1 However, if you require medical evacuation or prescription medication, you may have to cover these costs yourself, as the RHCA only covers certain treatments.
For surprise expenses like these, travel insurance is useful. Not only can costs for medical evacuation and medications be covered by a policy, but some policies reimburse you for out-of-pocket private hospital expenses.
- What about vaccinations? You probably won’t need any specific immunisations to enter Italy, but, depending on medical advice applicable to your personal circumstances, there are a few to consider. Consider getting the Influenza vaccine, as well as one for Hepatitis A. For up to date information, consult your local GP.
Italy is known for its volcanoes, and there are multiple active volcanoes, including:
- Mount Vesuvius near Naples
- Mount Etna in Sicily
- Mount Stromboli and Mount Vulcano – islands off the north coast of Sicily.
Erupting volcanoes and ash clouds can cause flight cancelations and other booking problems for travellers. Luckily for those with volcanic ash cloud cover, it’s possible to avoid expensive disruptions and receive a reimbursement for your holiday.
Travel insurance may also cover natural disasters. If you purchase travel insurance before the natural disaster becomes a known event, your insurer could cover your expenses.
Activities to get covered for:
- Cycling. Touring France and Italy on bicycles is the dream of any cyclist. However, accidents are common since Italian roads can be precarious, old and busy with commuters.
- Mountain hiking. 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 water activities, depending on where you are along the coast. Whether it’s water skiing, sailing or simply floating, make sure you take the proper precautions.
Trekking, climbing, water sports and other adventurous activities may be excluded from some travel insurance policies, or only covered as optional extras that will cost more to include in your travel insurance.
Generally speaking, travel insurance won’t cover you in instances where:
- you’ve acted carelessly or unlawfully;
- luggage is stolen as a result of it being unattended;
- a claim is based on a pre-existing condition;
- your injury happened while you were under the influence; or
- you weren’t wearing a helmet while on a scooter or motorcycle.
For a more detailed list of travel insurance exclusions, visit the travel insurance FAQs. To make sure you have cover for what’s important to you, read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
Top travel tips for Italy
1. Plan your trip
The peak tourism season in Italy is generally between June and August (summer). So, if you’re looking to visit around this time, plan everything well in advance, as bookings for certain activities and events may be in high demand. Otherwise, it might be worth heading over during a shoulder season like spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November), when the crowds may not be as large.
2. Acknowledge local customs and courtesies
Take part in the common courtesies when in Italy, such as dressing appropriately in church areas (particularly the Vatican), not calling people after midday until 3-4pm (that’s ‘riposo’, or rest time) and following polite dining etiquette.
3. Check your VISA requirements
Italy lies in the Schengen Area, meaning it has very open borders and little VISA restrictions for Aussies. That said, you should always check government websites like Smartraveller to ensure there aren’t any additional conditions for your entry into the country.
4. Who to contact in an emergency
In the event of an emergency, call 112 for ambulance, police or fire brigade – anywhere in the EU.
Things you need to know before arriving in Italy
- The official language of Italy is Italian. However, English is widely spoken.
- The two busiest airports in Italy are Rome Leonardo Da Vinci-Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa. Depending on your stopovers, it takes roughly 18-22 hours to arrive from Sydney.
- The best time to travel to Italy is anytime. However, the summers (June-August) can get hot, expensive and busy. What’s more, the Italian weather is quite extreme; they experience hot summers and bracing winters.
- The currency in Italy is the Euro. Cards payments are widely accepted, although cash is preferred.
- The north and south of Italy are considerably different. The north is industrialised while the south has a more laid-back Mediterranean feel.
- Dining isn’t rushed in Italy, it’s an experience to be savoured – which makes sense when you’re the inventors of pizza, pasta and gelato! And don’t be put off by an empty restaurant. Italians eat late, usually around 8pm.
Compare travel insurance for Europe
Heading off to Italy soon? Why not see what we have to offer through our free travel insurance quote comparison service? Through us, you can receive quotes from several providers on one page in just minutes.
If you’re travelling through 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. Purchase cover appropriate for your travel plans.
N.B. Please refer to or speak with your insurer about limits, sub-limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.