Cheap Italy travel insurance that travels the way you do.
You'd be hard pressed to beat Italy as a cultural and tourist destination. It's easy to get to, easy to travel around and it's said to have more artistic masterpieces per square mile than anywhere else in the world. It's also the source of so much that we take for granted: pizza, opera, pasta, fast cars, fashion and parmesan cheese! Not to mention the Catholic Church and western civilisation!
For culture vultures and pilgrims, Rome is the focus of any trip, with the Coliseum being the number one Italian attraction. However there is much to gaze in wonder upon outside the capital: Venice, Florence, Verona, Milan, Pisa! Where would you begin? Many tourists head for Venice and St Mark's Basilica, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Sicily's Greek ruins at Agrigento and the beautiful (if terrifying) ruins at Pompeii.
Away from the ancient historical sites there is much else to see too: the Amalfi Coast, the beaches of Sardinia, the Alps and Dolomites, and of course, the rolling hills of Tuscany. So if you could ever grow weary of taking in a few thousand years of history, art and culture, there's plenty to help you revive, relax and restore. A sun lounger on the beach at Elba? Perfect!
Don't leave home without a travel insurance policy from World First
Whatever your reasons for visiting Italy – food, sun or culture - it's vital to make sure you are well prepared and have the right travel insurance – at the right price. We offer a choice of policies that will give you all the benefits and cover you'll need for your trip – whether it's for a long weekend, a one-off family holiday, an extended trip or even a backpacking tour.
If you are the kind of person who likes to take off on a whim then our Last Minute policies will give you all the flexibility you need but without the cancellation cover of other, more expensive policies. That's because you only need cover for the time you are away! Like our other policies you can choose the level of cover too. So if £10m emergency medical expenses and gadget cover are important to you then our great Last Minute Superior policy will suit you down to the ground.
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Your quick guide to travelling in Italy
Euro (€) (EUR)
Police 112 / Fire 115 / Ambulance 118
Entry requirements. No visa required
Italy is part of the EU (it's also a G8 country) so British subjects don't need a visa to enter either by rail, car or air for the purpose of tourism, although you will need a valid passport. If you wish to stay longer than 3 months then you will need to report to the "registro dei temporanei" (a list of foreign people temporarily living in Italy) to register your presence. If you are not working or studying then you will need to prove that you have adequate health insurance for the time you intend to stay as well as enough money for the duration.
Well, let's start with the basics. Firstly you need to keep your licence, ownership documents and insurance papers (or at least a copy of it) with you, as well as a reflective vest in case you break down. You'll need to adjust your beams with headlamp converters and carry a warning triangle. You won't need an international licence, just your standard EU licence (both parts). Seatbelts in back and front are compulsory, with fines for both driver and passenger. If you have an overhanging load (a bike rack for example) you must display a red and white striped warning sign. Also, some cities impose locals only entry to the city centre which are known as ZTLs. Milan charges an environmental levy for cars entering the city during the day.
Italian Police issue severe speeding penalties and can charge you 1/3 of the value of the fine on the spot. You can be towed or clamped for illegal parking and will have to pay the fine plus the cost of impounding your care to get it back.
Then there's road etiquette. Driving in Italy is scary to a lot of Brits because it can be fast and furious, with little room for error or dithering, especially in cities. But away from the melee there are some beautiful roads to drive and regions to explore that would be difficult to see otherwise. So be brave and go!
Healthcare: Medical costs
Healthcare in Italy comprises of a mix of private and public funded healthcare. The thing that's important to know when need treatment is who is providing the healthcare. If it's the state it may be free or part funded, if it's from a private company you will more than likely have to pay. Confused? Here's how it works:
Firstly, if you haven't got one already, get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It's free from the NHS website.
Your EHIC will enable you to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed in order to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.
Doctors and Dentists
If you have to go to a doctor, go to one who is registered with the Italian national health service, (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale – SSN) as their services are normally free. However, if you have to pay any charges, keep the original receipts and apply at the local ASL (healthcare office) for a refund. Most dentists are private but they are available through SSN operated hospitals or at ASL managed health centres.
If you need hospital treatment then you can go to a state hospital but you may have to pay for ambulance services (Guarda Medica) and prescriptions. Some of these may be refundable when you return home. Again remember your paperwork.
How to claim refunds
Reimbursements are claimed from the local ASL offices (the local health service) in Italy. If you have had to pay for the cost of your care and have been unable to claim a refund during your stay in Italy you should contact the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle) on 0191 218 1999 (Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm) on your return to the UK. However, this process will take longer than claiming for a refund in Italy.
What we cover
Our Italy travel insurance will cover you for up to £10 million worth of medical costs (depending on what level of cover you opt for) that aren't automatically covered by your EHIC. We'll cover the balance of hospital and medication costs and reimburse you for any ambulance fees that you were charged for. So there's no need to worry about using your savings to pay for treatment if something unexpected happens.
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Crime: be vigilant
Italy is notorious for crime, although most visits to the country are trouble free. The famous ‘mafia' are very unlikely to trouble any tourists visiting Italy, unless they get involved with drugs or crime themselves. That said, petty crime like bag snatching and pick pocketing are fairly common in tourist areas and occasionally on the trains to airports. Flashing cash and jewellery is never a good thing anywhere and in Italy this is also true. Displays of wealth are more likely to attract the attention of muggers and pickpockets. The best advice is to be streetwise, don't go into parks or car parks at night, stay away from trouble spots and areas where prostitutes or drug addicts hang out, especially in Rome. Also, don't be distracted by unsolicited offers of help, the waving or newspapers and attempts to confuse and distract you. If anything like this happens be vigilant. Keep your bag and wallet close to you so it can't be snatched.
Car crime is common in many parts of Italy. This could mean stealing from your car whilst you are away from it or distracting you whilst you are with it. Either way, don't leave bags unattended, don't leave valuables on show and don't leave documents and money in the car.
If you're the victim of a crime, you should report it to the nearest police station (commissariato di pubblica sicurezza) or to the local carabinieri immediatel. You can report it by telephone but must go to the station to complete a report (denuncia), of which you receive a copy for insurance purposes.
Laws and customs: Keep your picnic to yourself
In some cities it is an offence to sit on steps or in courtyards or even to eat and drink close to churches and public buildings. If you do, you may be fined. You may also be fined if caught buying from illegal street traders and if you drop litter.
Electricity: Plug in and play!
Sometimes it's nice to escape technology on holiday. But if you're bringing a charger for your mobile phone or digital camera, the electricity voltage in Italy is 230 Volts and 50Hz on AC with a European plug. You should be able to pick up a conversion kit in the UK before you leave without too much hassle.
The currency of Italy is the Euro. Cash points are known as Bancomat and are available all over the country. They will accept credit and debit cards, although fees may vary depending on the type of card you use.
In 2005 a ban on smoking in the workplace and in public places was introduced. It included bars and restaurants. However, enclosed and separately ventilated rooms are permitted, so, if you want to smoke then ask. Owners of bars and restaurants will either show you to the smoking room or show you the door.
Italy: Know Before You Go
For up to the minute travel news that doesn't make the headlines, check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's website. Their Know Before You Go site has information on all risks to all travellers in more than 255 countries and territories around the world.
See the latest information at Know Before You Go HERE.
Follow the FCO on twitter HERE.
Of course, if you have any questions about our Italy travel insurance, please call us using the number at the top of this page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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