Worried about COVID-19?
You're not the only one. Travel insurance companies are now offering some cover for coronavirus. So you can travel with more peace of mind.
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Italy is one of the world’s most popular destinations for travellers. From the hills of Tuscany to the historic sites of Rome, the cosmopolitan fashion of Milan and the unrivalled beauty of the Amalfi Coast, every region of this fascinating country is packed with uniquely memorable holiday experiences.
Before you depart Australia for Italy however, consider taking out comprehensive travel insurance.
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You're not the only one. Travel insurance companies are now offering some cover for coronavirus. So you can travel with more peace of mind.
While the Australian Government has a reciprocal health care system in place with Italy, it does have its limitations.
In addition to dealing with a foreign medical system, there are also plenty of other general travel risks you may contend with while travelling in Italy:
It also makes excellent financial sense to take out travel insurance cover to protect yourself against the specific safety concerns of traveling in Italy.
The best way to get travel insurance is to compare policies online and nominate the appropriate region when you apply. Italy is typically considered part of the Worldwide region, or under the European region
The reciprocal health care agreement between Australia and Italy entitles Australian travellers to subsidised health care while in Italy, providing similar support to what the Medicare system provides in Australia. However, there are several limitations to this agreement.
With this in mind, despite the protection offered by the agreement it still makes sense to take out travel insurance cover anyway. Not only can it provide a higher level of cover for your medical expenses but it can also provide protection against a range of other travel risks.
If you encounter any of the above risks on your holiday in Italy, in many cases your travel insurance policy will be able to financially protect you from their effects, provided that you take reasonable care to avoid these risks.
Diane has just landed in Rome after flying in from Sydney. After a quick meal at a bar within walking distance of the Colosseum, Diane heads out onto the street with all her luggage in tow for the short walk to her hotel. But Diane is set upon by thieves in a dark area of the street and has her handbag and suitcase stolen, while she is knocked to the ground and suffers a broken arm.
While Diane’s holiday has taken a particularly nasty turn, the good news is that she has comprehensive travel insurance in place. Her policy covers all the costs incurred for the treatment of her broken arm, plus it also offers the financial support she needs to replace her luggage, all her clothing, her credit cards, passport and travel documents.
North-western Italy was struck by a fierce heat wave that saw the first ten days of July reach temperatures in the high thirties. Tragically, the intense weather conditions led to the deaths of hundreds of pensioners, while it also caused significant disruptions and delays to the rail transport network.
Most insurers would typically provide cover you if your travel plans were delayed or re-scheduled due to a heat wave - provided that there was no warning of the extreme weather approaching before you booked your trip.
If there had been warnings in the mass media about the heat wave and you ignored those warnings and decided to continue with your holiday, your insurer may not provide any cover. Check the list of general exclusions on your policy to determine when you will and when you won’t be covered.
For many travellers, the best way to explore all of Italy’s unique and beautiful holiday experiences is to embrace your inner adventurous spirit. Popular extreme activities in Italy include:
It always pays to check the fine print on your travel insurance policy before participating in any of these activities. While some policies will include certain adventure sports as standard, others such as skiing will require you to add optional adventure sports cover to your policy for an extra fee.
If you want to ride a motorbike or scooter, make sure you satisfy any policy conditions that enable you to qualify for cover. These usually include wearing a helmet and making sure you hold a valid licence to ride a motorbike in Italy and/or back home in Australia.
You may want to travel to the surrounding countries of Italy. Although you should check your travel insurance policy, European countries covered by travel insurance include:
The Department of Foreign affairs currently suggests that travellers exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to Kosovo, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Make sure you stay up to date to changes to the status of these countries as well the rest of Europe.
If an event occurs that may lead to a claim, it’s important that you notify your insurer about what has happened as soon as possible. You will then usually need to fill out a claim form to provide full details of the event that led to your claim, and in most cases this will need to be completed no later than 30 days after your return to Australia.
When you submit your claim form you will have to attach supporting documentation, which may include:
If you’re hospitalised in Italy, you’ll be happy to hear that the standard of health care is high. While private doctors and specialists require up-front payment for treatment, private hospitals will usually require a substantial deposit (or evidence that you have sufficient medical coverage in place thanks to your travel insurance policy) before commencing treatment. Always contact your insurer as their medical team can often deal with the hospital in emergency cases to help you get the appropriate treatment.Back to top
Visa for stays longer than 90 days. Travellers who wish to stay for longer than 90 days will require a visa.
Italy is one of 26 European countries that is party to the Schengen Convention, which means that Australian travellers will not need a visa if they stay less than 90 days
Entry stamp from initial point of entry. Schengen Convention countries have abolished passport and border controls at their common borders but it is essential that you get a clearly legible entry stamp on your passport when you enter the Schengen Area for the first time
Permit to stay. If you stay in commercial accommodation in Italy, under anti-terrorism laws your accommodation provider must provide the Italian authorities with your personal details. If you’re not staying in commercial accommodation while in Italy you may need to apply for a ‘permit to stay’
Declare large amounts off cash. Finally, make sure your passport has at least six remaining months of validity from your planned return date to Australia, and remember to declare to customs officials if you are carrying more than 10,000 Euros into Italy
There are fantastic travel experiences to be had in Italy all year round.
|July - September||Peak season and attractions are filled with tourists.|
|Just before July||Travelling just before or after this period will allow you to enjoy the same perfect weather combined with cheaper prices and crowds.|
|October and November||Most rainfall occurs during this time but Italy is still a beautiful site to see.|
The currency in Italy is the Euro, which can make organising your finances much easier if you’re also travelling elsewhere in the European Union.
You should always be wary of ATM withdrawal fees, foreign transaction fees and currency conversion fees. Look for a credit card that features minimal or even zero charges for overseas transaction - high-end credit cards may also come with some form of travel insurance.
When you withdraw money in Italy, make sure to exercise all the usual safety precautions you would in Australia. Keep an eye out for skimming devices, protect your PIN, don’t flash your money around in public places and avoid carrying large sums whenever possible.
While a holiday in Italy is not without its risks, this is one of the world’s great countries and certainly worth visiting. Just make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you leave home for your Italian adventure.
If you need emergency assistance while you’re overseas, phone your insurance provider’s 24-hour hotline for advice on finding a medical practitioner, replacing stolen credit cards and much more. Alternatively, your friends and family or even your travel agent may be able to provide the support you need.
If you need help from the Italian police, ambulance or fire emergency services, the national emergency number in Italy is 113.
Although cover varies depending on the insurer and the policy, comprehensive travel insurance typically covers:
However, there are a range of circumstances when you will not receive any cover, such as:
When selecting the level of travel insurance for Italy, there are five questions to ask yourself:
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Picture: Riccardo Nobile, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
Picture: Giuseppe Moro, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)
*The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your own personal financial circumstances when comparing travel insurance policies.Picture: Shutterstock
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