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Travel insurance for your trip to Italy
Planning a trip to the beautiful 'Lo Stivale'? Then you've come to the right place for your travel insurance. Find out how to choose the best Italy travel insurance, along with how to stay safe while you're in Italy, and how to get the most out of your trip.
Do I need travel insurance for Italy?
As a UK citizen, you may wonder whether it's worth taking out travel insurance for somewhere like Italy, a country within Europe and only a couple hours away by plane. Yet, there are a host of reasons why taking out reliable travel insurance to Italy should be on your 'to-do-list' before leaving the borders of the UK.
Medical emergency cover in Italy
For many travelling in the EU, getting travel insurance might seem like a waste of time when there is the Ehic card. However, what many don't realise is that the benefits and value of the Ehic card differs from country to country. In Italy, an Ehic card will not cover you for medical repatriation, on-going medical care you might need while away, and medical treatment classed as 'non-urgent'. So, you could end up with a hefty medical bill if all you have is the Ehic card and not a proper travel insurance for Italy.
Extreme sports in Italy
Perhaps you're going canyoning in Umbria or rafting in Valtellina? Then it would certainly be unwise to travel to Italy without insurance for these activities. While you might think that the Ehic card will cover you for medical emergencies, this might not be the case if you end up having an accident somewhere in the Dolomites and need to be rescued by helicopter. In which case, you could end up with medical fees of up a couple million, and no one to help out. Thankfully, it's easy to get properly covered for any extreme sports you have planned in Italy, for a reasonable price. Find out more about how you can get extreme sports cover, on our extreme sports travel insurance page.
Travel insurance for lost & delayed luggage
Unfortunately, even with modern luggage tracking technology, it's still entirely possible for luggage to get lost or delayed in transit. If this happens, what can you do? Well, for those savvy travellers who knew to book travel insurance in advance, help is but a phone call away. A decent travel insurance policy with lost and delayed baggage cover will offer you monetary remuneration for the lost contents of your luggage, or for the duration spent without your stuff, so you won't be left out of pocket should your baggage be lost somehow. To find out more information on what you can expect from our policies in this regard, check out our lost luggage travel insurance page.
Protect your gadgets in Italy
While not an essential part of a travel insurance policy, adding gadget cover is always a good idea if you plan to bring tech with you. Getting gadget travel insurance for Italy, is particularly advised given the common problems with thieves and pick-pockets operating in major tourist areas in Italy. While gadget cover can't replace any lost photos or memories stored on a phone or camera, it will save you the monetary burden.
Interrailing through Italy?
Owing to the extensive railway network in Italy, the country is a popular interrailing destination. If you plan to visit Italy during your interrail tour, this presents a whole new set of considerations when choosing a travel insurance policy. Check out our interrail travel insurance page for more information on how to choose the best insurance policy for an interrail holiday.
Best travel insurance for Italy
Finding the best travel insurance for your trip to Italy is easier than you think. Here at Holiday Extras, when it comes to european travel insurance, we like to give you options. Just choose your level of cover, whether you'll be needing any extra cover or add-ons, and complete the online screening process if you have any pre-existing medical conditions to declare.
All of our policies cover cancellation and medical costs, personal possessions and lost baggage, plus a 24/7 emergency call team on hand when you need it most:
- £1,000 - £5,000 per person for cancellation fees
- £5 million - £10 million towards medical cover
- £500 - £2,000 baggage cover
- 24/7 Emergency assistance
If you're travelling just once this year, then taking out a single trip travel insurance is your best bet. If you travel frequently, we recommend taking advantage of our annual travel insurance, which offers the highest level of cover for an unlimited amount of trips across 12 months - as long as each trip doesn't exceed the maximum allowed days per trip.
Italy travel tips
Italian food is more than just pizza & pasta!
Yes, believe it or not, Italian's do in fact live off more than just plates of tagliatelle and Margaritas, enjoying a rich and varied cuisine. There are a host of meat and seafood dishes with seasonal and regional variations to try. Find out what the local specialities are, and be sure to try them
In Florence you might want to try the 'Bistecca Fiorentina', a rare steak made from the loin cut of a Tuscan breed of cattle.
If you're visiting Milan, be sure to try the Ossobuco, a rich and hearty dish of veal shanks braised with vegetables in a white-wine broth, traditionally served with risotto alla milanese.
In regions close to the Adriatic sea, you'll find many traditional Italian seafood dishes like Coze alla Zafferano, a dish of mussels served with saffron.
When to eat
When it comes to food and eating, remember that in Italy, everything is much slower. If you're eating out, whether it's lunch or dinner, make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Most of the shops, restaurants and even petrol stations close from 1-4pm, so bear this in mind when planning your day and when to have lunch. Perhaps the most unusually for tourists from the UK is how late the Italians have their evening meal, sometimes as late as 10pm. Most restaurants won't even open again till 7pm.
How to order
For an evening meal in Italy, it's common to have a 'prima pilati' (1st plate) and 'segunda pilati' (2nd plate). The prima pilati is usually some kind of pasta and the segunda pilati is usually a meat dish. In many places they will only bring dishes classed as a 2nd plate, only after the 1st plate as been finished. This means that if you order a 1st plate and your friend orders something classed as a 2nd plate, they won't get their meal until after you've finished yours! Just be sure to ask for all the food to be brought out at the same time to avoid this confusion.
Getting around in Italy
By far the best way to get around Italy is by train. Although Italians have a reputation for being lax when it comes to punctuality (when an Italian says to meet at 7pm, they really mean 7:30-8pm) this is not so when it comes to the train services. Much like in the UK, trains run largely run on time, and it's possible to track delays to services online.
Remember to validate your ticket - Something that could potentially catch you out when using public transport in Italy is the need to 'validate' your ticket. This usually means getting your ticket stamped in one of the green boxes at train stations or the yellow boxes on buses. It's important to validate your ticket as you could end up being landed a hefty €50 fine!
Using taxi's - In Italy, you can't hail a taxi. Knowing this and planning ahead can save you a lot of stress and a potentially long walk home in the dark. The only ways to arrange for a taxi is to either call a taxi company, or find a taxi stand where you can pick one up. Beware that not all taxi's companies will be willing or able to make bookings in English over the phone, so unless you know enough Italian, this may not be a good option if you need transport after a night out. You're best bet if you need a taxi in the evening is to ask your server at a restaurant for directions to the nearest taxi rank, or simply get them to call for a taxi in your behalf.
Paying for things
Though there are places that do offer the option to pay by card, Italy is essentially a cash-centric country. Don't expect to be able to pay for anything by card like you might in the UK. It's always best to carry a good chunk of euros on you, between 40 to 50, just in case a restaurant doesn't accept card.
Staying safe in Italy
Italy is a largely safe country and you aren't likely to encounter any severe dangers to safety if you use good common sense and behave as you might in your home country. What is more of a problem is petty crime. Pickpockets do operate in the cities on public transport and around popular tourist sites, and there have been incidents of bag snatching. Taking simple precautions like using a money belt, not flashing expensive items and remaining vigilant are usually enough to ensure you against this.
It's also worth noting that scams aimed at tourists are very common in Italy. Being fore-warned and using good judgement is usually enough to keep you out of trouble.
Here are some of the most common scams that have caught tourists and even native Italians out...
Scam #1: Forgery and fake currency - Perhaps the most common scam and one that even Italians will occasionally fall victim to. Italy is very much a cash-centric economy, and unfortunately, there is a high amount of fake currency in circulation. What can you do to avoid being caught out by this scam?
- When you first get hold of your euros, take a moment to familiarise yourself with the hallmarks, and the other signs of a genuine euro note.
- Pay for things in such a way that you receive minimal change. For example, if your bill is €12 pay with a €10 and a €5. This way, you reduce the likelihood of receiving fake currency from businesses trying to get rid of it. You can usually trust currency taken from an ATM to be genuine.
Scam #2: 'Can I help you with your ticket..?' - Occasionally you might see smartly dressed people standing by ticket vending machines in train stations, offering to help with purchasing tickets. You'd be forgiven for thinking that these people are in fact employed by the railway station. Don't be fooled! Italian railway stations as a rule, rarely employ staff to man the stations, and if they do, they aren't employed to help with tickets. These smartly dressed individuals will usually ask for a tip after they have assisted you with your ticket, but this is not their actual intent. Very often, it's their job to simply distract you while an accomplice robs you unawares.
Thankfully, avoiding this scam is easy enough. Simply refuse the help, or use a ticket machine that isn't being manned by one of these fake attendants.
Scam #3: New iPhones for €100 each? - Known as the 'Auto grill' scam, because scammers commonly target people at motorway service stations, this has had even native Italian's fall victim. Essentially, you will be approached by someone offering to sell you iPhones, tablets, laptops and other tech goods for a drastically reduced price. They will usually spin some story about how they owned a shop that was recently closed down and they have all this excess stock that they need to get rid of. They'll even show a genuine iPhone still in its packaging, turning it on, just to prove it's the real thing. However, somewhere during the course of the transaction, typically by some slight of hand, the box is switched and the one you receive is just a weighted dud of course. Just don't pay these guys any attention.
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Holiday Extras is underwritten by Travel Insurance Facilities plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered address: 2nd Floor, 1 Tower View, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UY. Company number 03220410.