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How to Choose the Right Insurance When Studying Abroad in Italy

Italy is ranked as one of the top destinations for American students to study abroad. With its rich history, mouthwatering cuisine and vibrant residents, Italy has the potential to provide students with both a memorable cultural and educational experience.

However, that does not mean Italy is immune to risk. If you are planning on studying abroad in Italy, you may not want to think about the potential dangers that could arise while you’re there. However, it’s important to take precautions and be prepared just in case things don’t run as smoothly as planned. Choose the right insurance and if you hit a snag, it won’t ruin your experience.  Studying abroad can be daunting, but with proper insurance the number of things you’ll be worrying out will shrink dramatically.  Here’s what you should consider to make sure you take out the right insurance when studying abroad in Italy.

Make sure you’re covered for illness and injury

Across Europe, citizens of the EU member countries can apply for what’s called an EHIC card.  It’s free and entitles the holder to medical treatment on a reciprocal basis.  However, this is not available to anyone from countries outside the EU, so don’t be fooled into thinking you can skip medical coverage.  

In fact, medical coverage is vital.  Italian health care ranks highly in comparison to other nations, but private clinics offer a higher standard of care than public hospitals – and this comes at a cost.  An overnight stay in an Italian clinic could cost you a thousand dollars, but if you need to be medevaced home, you could be facing a bill of many more thousands of dollars.

Also, if you’re planning to reside in Italy for more than 90 days (beyond the length of your tourist/student visa), legally you’ll need to provide proof of health insurance before applying for your Permesso di Soggiorno (permit). Regardless of whether you opt for a private health insurance company from your home country with international validity, or choose instead to obtain local insurance, you’re going to need coverage.  For local insurance options, a good starting point is the Istituto Nazionale delle Assicurazioni, and you should know you will have to pay for it at the post office!

The insurance you choose needs to go beyond health provision

Though possessions are obviously a lot less important than your health, the outlay involved in replacing lost, damaged or stolen items can run up thousands of dollars.  It’s worth adding up the cost of the high value possessions to give you an idea of the cover you’re likely to require.  You don’t want to be merrily paying your contributions to find down the track that the payout is inadequate to cover what you’re replacing.  

Where you’re studying is likely to have a bearing on this too.  If you’ve chosen a place that’s a higher risk for theft or burglary, then it makes sense to ensure you’ve taken out a decent insurance policy.  Milan, Naples and Bologna all rank highly when it comes to crime statistics.  They’re great cities to live and study in, but you’ll need to factor in an increased chance of losing your valuables and plan accordingly.

Consider the impact of your plans of delayed or cancelled flights

At the beginning and end of your study term, you’ll be flying into and out of Italy.  There may also be times during your stay when you book flights or use other types of transport to visit friends and family or take a holiday.  In such cases you may occasionally find that you are delayed or stranded through no fault of your own.  

Perhaps you have accommodation arranged, or a car service?  When choosing your insurance for the period you’ll be studying abroad, think about what else you might be doing.  Check the small print for the terms and conditions applied to such circumstances.  For instance, if you plan to take advantage of Italy’s excellent ski resorts with your new friends, make sure the policy you choose offers adequate winter sports cover.

When traveling abroad, US Traveler Assist is an invaluable aid, providing contacts, trusted advice and assistance when needs arise. Learn more at Follow us on Twitter @us_assist

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