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Italy has an excellent public transport system but having your own car can really make your life easier, particularly if you are living in rural parts of the country. If you are considering buying a car in Italy you need to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding the rules of the road, which includes insuring your vehicle.
Unlike in other parts of the world it’s a legal requirement in Italy to have a basic, third-party liability car insurance. This rule applies regardless of whether you buy a car in the country or import it from abroad.
It can be a little confusing to navigate the various insurance policies in Italy and unless your language skills are fairly good you may need some help and guidance.
How Does Italian Car Insurance Work In Italy?
Insurance is mandatory in Italy so if you find yourself in an accident you will have a basic level of protection. In Italy, car insurance is applied to the actual car itself rather than an individual insurance holder. This is good news for drivers because as long as the driver of the vehicle has a valid driver’s license then they will be covered by the insurance while they are in the car.
This means that as long as your car is insured, you can lend your car to a friend without having to worry about their personal insurance status. Also, if you’re moving to Italy with your family the same insurance policy for the car can be shared; therefore saving on the cost of having to buy multiple policies. Of course, if you have two cars then each one will need it’s own insurance policy.
What Types Of Insurance Options Are Available In Italy?
There’s a few different types of insurance policies that you can opt for while you’re driving that range from a mandatory basic policy right up to far more extensive options.
Basic Third-party Insurance Policy.
It’s legally required to have a basic third-party liability insurance while you are driving on the roads in Italy. This is the minimum insurance that you can get and covers you for any damage done to another vehicle or if a road accident that you are involved in causes the injury or death of another person. This is very similar to liability insurance in the United States. This is typically the cheapest insurance policy option.
Personal Accident Policy.
Having a personal accident policy, or ‘Persona Autovetture’ is not a legal requirement for you to drive in Italy but it can be extremely useful. This more extensive policy will provide you or the injured party in an accident with compensation for injuries, resulting disability or death.
If you want to be on the safe side you can take out a policy for you and your entire family which will remain valid wherever you are in the world; making this an ideal choice if you frequently travel internationally.
Vehicle Protection Insurance.
A ‘Danni Autovetture’, or vehicle protection insurance policy, is an additional type of coverage that you can purchase to provide your vehicle with protection if you’re in an accident, regardless of whether it’s your fault or not. The policy also covers you in case of a wide range of misfortunes, including; fire and theft, collisions with wild animals, vandalism and natural disasters such as flood damage. When you are new to Italy, you should always have a vehicle protection insurance on your auto policy.
What If You Have An Accident?
If you have an accident while you are driving in Italy you simply need to contact your insurance company. They will then contact the National Motor Insurance Bureau on your behalf and act as your representative when they are dealing with other insurance companies or another person who was injured in the accident with you.
Registering Your Car To Drive In Italy.
When you move to Italy you will, as we said, need to purchase a basic liability insurance policy for each vehicle that you drive. If you are moving to Italy from other European Union member states and you bring your car with you, then you should already be covered for basic third-party liability insurance if it was insured in the original country. The insurance policy should automatically carry over to Italy until the policy expires. The same applies if you are moving from Switzerland, Norway or Liechtenstein.
However, if you are moving to Italy from other parts of the world your insurance policy may not continue to cover you – so check carefully with your insurance provider.
If you have decided to move to Italy for the foreseeable future then you should also register your car with the official Automobile Club d’Italia because you can get a better insurance package and potentially save on the costs as well.
Once you are a resident of Italy you can get yourself Italian license plates. After you have done this you can select an insurance policy from any one of officially approved insurance providers. You can choose from Italian, European or other foreign companies; so you can shop around to find a great deal.
Your Past Claims History.
Part of the Italian car insurance process involves a risk assessment of your past driving record. Each person who has taken out a car insurance policy in Italy is rated on a scale of 1 to 18, with 18 being the most risky and therefore having to pay the highest premiums. This assessment is based on your past history of claims, accidents and other incidents of note.
If it’s your first time taking out an insurance policy in Italy then you will automatically be ranked as a number 14; after which you can improve your rating over time. As your ranking improves the costs of your insurance policy should come down.
If you are from a country in the European Union and are insuring your car in Italy, your new insurance company has to take your previous no claims history into account and include this consideration in the cost of your insurance premium.
On the other hand, if you are not from a country in the European Union and have had car insurance before, then your new insurer in Italy may choose to consider any claims or accidents that you’ve had in the last 5 years. However, unlike people who are moving from other parts of the European Union, the insurance companies are not legally obliged to. You can still shop around though and try to find an insurer which does.
The Italian Highway Code And Points On Your License.
The Highway Code, or ‘Codice della Strada’, in Italy includes a detailed points system that is tied to your driving license. Everybody starts with a total of 20 points but if you commit any driving offences or infringements you will lose points. If you lose all of your points within a single year then you will be banned from driving in the country for 2 years. If you lose all your points in the space of 2 years then you will be banned from driving for 1 year. If you lose all your points in 3 years then you only be banned for 6 months.
On the other hand, if you are driving in Italy and avoid committing any driving offences you can slowly earn more points on your license.
The amount of points on your license will impact on the cost of your insurance policy so it pays to drive safely!
Car Insurance In Italy – It’s A Mandatory But Flexible System.
Driving in Italy is a real pleasure once you get used to the driving habits of the locals and opens up massive new options for your exploration of the country. In many parts of rural Italy it’s difficult to get around without a car and even in the cities having a car is very helpful.
You will be required to pay for a minimum amount of basic third-party insurance cover which applies to the car rather than you as an individual. This means you can share the cover with other people, including friends or family. Alternatively, you can take out a far more extensive insurance policy which covers you in almost any situation that you may find yourself in.