Car insurance in Italy

Thinking of taking to the Italian roads? Make sure you’re insured. From different coverage levels to the no-claims bonus system, get clued up on car insurance in Italy.

car insurance Italy

By Gary Buswell

Updated 5-3-2024

Italy is a beautiful country, and a great one to see by car. However, you’ll need to complete some administration before driving in Italy. One of the most important considerations is arranging your car insurance. All vehicles in Italy need a minimum level of insurance. Read on for an explanation of car insurance in Italy, with sections on:

Car insurance in Italy

Italy has a sizable motor insurance market, accounting for just over half (50.6%) of all non-life insurance in the country. This is largely because car insurance is the most common form of compulsory insurance in Italy. All drivers in Italy need to have at least third-party liability insurance for their vehicle to cover costs to others in the event of an accident.

A car takes a curve on a beautiful mountain road with old Italian houses lining the street
Photo: Gregory Smirnov/Unsplash

When you take out car insurance in Italy, the vehicle is insured rather than the driver. This means that anyone with a valid driving license in Italy is covered to drive your car. However, this also means that you need to take out separate coverage for each vehicle you own.

The Italian Insurance Supervisory Authority (Istituto per la Vigilanza sulle Assicurazioni – IVASS) regulates all insurance companies in Italy. IVASS publishes a list of registered insurance providers and also mediates disputes between consumers and companies.

Can you use car insurance from another country in Italy?

You can use any insurance policy that has valid overseas coverage in Italy. Similarly, if you take out car insurance in Italy, you can choose an extended plan that covers you in other countries. Most policies from European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) are valid in Italy, and vice versa. Italy is also a member of the Green Card system, which recognizes car insurance in 47 countries worldwide.

Car insurance companies in Italy

There are 97 insurance companies in Italy. The main car insurance providers include:

There are also many companies that offer expat-tailored car insurance. Clements, for example, provides international car and motorcycle insurance in a number of countries. Many Italian banks also sell insurance products, so it’s worth checking these, too.

You should check that any insurance company you plan to use is signed up to the IVASS register. If you want to compare different policies, you can use websites such as Facile and 6Sicuro. For basic third-party liability contracts, you can use the public estimator service offered by IVASS (all links in Italian).

Types of car insurance in Italy

Third-party liability (Responsabilità Civile verso Terzi)

Third-party liability (Responsabilità Civile verso Terzi) is the basic legal minimum coverage and the type that most drivers in Italy have. It covers the costs of damage to other vehicles and injury to other parties in any claims made against you. However, it doesn’t cover your own vehicle or any of your own costs such as medical costs or repair/replacement of your own belongings.

Policies normally have a claims limit, for example, up to €1 million. Most insurance companies sell third-party insurance, and many also allow you to add individual items to your plan for an increased premium.

Personal accident (Persona autovetture)

This type of Italian insurance covers the cost of accidents and injuries to yourself, such as medical costs, in any incident where you are at fault. In Italy, you can take out separate accident insurance, although you will need to check that vehicle-related accidents are covered. Many insurance companies allow you to add accident insurance onto your third-party liability insurance policy. However, although your personal costs are covered, costs relating to your car are not.

Physical damage

This is the equivalent of third-party plus fire and theft, and many companies in Italy offer it as an add-on to third-party liability insurance. It essentially covers your vehicle against damage caused by natural disasters and external events, as well as car theft. However, common exclusions are damage to vehicle glass and damage or loss that can be blamed on negligence, for example, failing to lock your car or leaving it in a vulnerable area.

View from inside a car parked on the street with its side window smashed open

If you choose this policy, you won’t be covered for any damage to your vehicle resulting from accidents where you are at fault. This also doesn’t cover personal costs, such as medical costs due to injuries.

Comprehensive vehicle protection (Danni autovetture)

This is the most extensive car insurance available in Italy and essentially combines all of the above. However, each company has its own policy and what is included or excluded can vary. Check for anything missing, as you can usually add it in for an increase in monthly premium. Common exclusions are breakdown coverage, no-claim bonus protection, and damage due to negligence.

Car insurance costs in Italy

Car insurance costs in Italy depend on several factors, including:

  • Insurance type – third-party is cheaper, while a comprehensive policy is the most expensive on the market
  • Risk factors – these include your age, driving history, what type of vehicle you are insuring, and what you are using it for
  • Deductible – many insurers allow you to increase your deductible (the amount you pay upfront on a first claim before the policy kicks in) in exchange for lower monthly premiums
  • Location – costs vary across different parts of Italy

The average car insurance costs in Italy in 2019 were €350 per year.

Additional forms of Italian car insurance

Many insurers in Italy offer additional coverage so you can tailor your insurance plan to best suit your needs. Additional forms of insurance may include:

  • Breakdown coverage – to cover towing costs, repair costs, and temporary replacement vehicle
  • Legal protection – covers legal costs in the event of a claim going to court
  • Bonus protection – guarantees your no-claims bonus in the event of making a claim
  • Overseas coverage – insures you in countries where your insurance wouldn’t be valid otherwise, for example, most non-EU countries

Many companies also offer policies to cover other vehicles in Italy. These include motorcycles, vans, trucks, and boats.

Car insurance bonuses and penalties in Italy

Italy uses the bonus-malus system to calculate insurance costs. This rewards drivers who have a good driving record while penalizing those who have made prior insurance claims. The Italian no-claims system ranks vehicles on a class scale from 1–18, with Class 1 being the highest. New drivers and vehicles in Italy usually start off on Class 14. For each year with no claims, you move up a class, while a claim will knock you down two classes. The better the class rating of your vehicle, the bigger discount you can get on your insurance premium, up to around 50% with some companies.

A woman on the phone, touching a dent on the back of her car

You can transfer no-claims bonuses across to Italy from companies in other EU/EFTA countries. Italian insurance companies are not obliged to recognize no-claims periods from non-EU/EFTA nations, but can choose to do so. Most companies will only acknowledge up to five years of no claims, meaning that you can usually only boost your rating up to Class 9 if you import a car to Italy.

You will pay a higher premium rate on your car insurance in Italy if you have made prior claims, or if you:

  • Have a poor driving record – for example, if you have points on your license due to careless driving
  • Are a young or inexperienced driver

How to choose car insurance in Italy

When buying car insurance in Italy, be sure to consider all the necessary factors to end up with the best possible policy. This isn’t always about opting for the cheapest available product. Other criteria to consider include:

  • Opportunity to tailor your insurance policy – can you remove elements you don’t need and add in anything that’s missing so that you end up with a product that most fits your needs?
  • Bonus-malus system – what discounts are offered, and can you transfer from overseas if importing a car?
  • Claims process – how quick and easy is the claims process, and can you do it online?
  • Deductible – most third-party liability policies in Italy don’t include a deductible option, but more extensive plans may do. How much can you lower your premiums by increasing this?
  • Company reputation – how does the company score in consumer ratings, and what is the general feedback like?
  • Incentives – some insurers may partner up with other companies to offer alternative benefits or discounts, for example, cheap cinema tickets
  • Ethical performance – how does the company fare on ethics and sustainability ratings on sites such as CSRHub, Standard Ethics, and Corporate Knights?

You can find tips on how to choose car insurance in Italy on the IVASS website.

How to apply for Italian car insurance

Nowadays, you can apply for car insurance in Italy online with most of the main insurers. If you prefer, you can set up your policy over the phone or visit the company’s local branch. To set up online, you normally first need a quote, which you can get by filling in the online quote form. Typically, you’ll have to provide the following information:

  • Your date of birth
  • Contact details, for example, an email address
  • Vehicle license plate number
  • What type of coverage you are looking for (third-party, full vehicle coverage, etc.)

You may also have to provide additional details for the vehicle you want to insure. Once you receive your quote, the company will tell you how to proceed. To purchase your insurance plan, you will usually need to provide the following documentation as a minimum:

Once you have filled in the insurance form and paid your first installment, your car is covered. You will receive an insurance certificate (which you should keep on you or in your car at all times) and policy details. You may also receive a European accident report form and a Green Card to show proof of insurance when driving in non-EU/EFTA countries that are part of the Green Card system.

How to make a car insurance claim in Italy

If you need to make an insurance claim in Italy, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. The claims representative will then proceed with your claim. Each company has its own specific claims process, and many now allow you to complete it online. You should:

  • Take photos of any damage and record any witness statements if possible
  • In the event of an accident, complete the accident report form provided to you by your insurance company. You should keep this in your vehicle at all times. If you don’t have this handy, you can use the standardized European Accident Statement form.
  • Contact the emergency services in the event of a serious accident. Report theft or severe intentional damage to your vehicle to the police.
  • File your insurance claim as soon as possible. The legal deadline for car insurance claims in Italy is two years. However, it is harder to get compensation if you delay your claim.
A car with a damaged hood and bumper sits in the middle of a highway after hitting the median in an accident.

You will usually need to provide the following information as part of your claim:

  • Date, place, and time of the incident
  • Detailed description of the incident
  • Names of all parties involved (take details of other parties in the event of an accident)
  • Vehicle registration details
  • Your Italian tax number

Your insurance company has 60 days to assess your claim. This extends to 90 days if there are personal injuries and reduces to 30 days if both parties have signed and completed the accident form.

If you are involved in an accident caused by an uninsured vehicle, you will be compensated through the Guarantee Fund for Road Accident Victims (CONSAP). In the event that the accident involves a vehicle insured outside Italy, the National Motor Insurance Bureau will deal with the claim. Your insurer handles dealings with these organizations for you.

See the IVASS website for more information on what to do in the event of an accident.

Cancelling a contract or changing provider

Most Italian car insurance contracts run for the duration of one year. You can cancel early in the following situations:

  • The premium price increases
  • There are changes to the terms or conditions
  • Your vehicle is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair
  • Due to certain other circumstances beyond your control

Some insurers allow you to cancel early if you sell your car or want to transfer your policy to another vehicle. Check the terms and conditions of your contract. Most car insurance contracts in Italy do not renew automatically. You will usually receive a notification from your insurer when it’s time to renew. If you fail to renew or switch to another supplier, you risk of your vehicle not being insured.

Your insurer can cancel the contract at any time if you break the terms and conditions. They will inform you of this decision. You will then need to find an alternative provider, although you will usually find that your premiums will be higher.

If you cancel a contract early without a valid reason, you will usually have to pay either a penalty or accept charges up until the contract termination period. Cancelation should be done in writing. If you switch to another provider, many offer services to help you to cancel your old contract, for example, providing template contract termination letters.

Many Italian car insurance companies offer an insurance suspension service where you can put your contract on hold for up to 12–18 months if your vehicle is off the road.

Making a complaint about a car insurance company in Italy

If you wish to complain about an insurance provider in Italy, the first thing you should do is contact the complaints team within the insurance company itself. The company has 45 days to reply to you. If you don’t get a reply, or if you aren’t satisfied with the response, you can take the complaint to IVASS. This is the national body that regulates insurance in Italy.

IVASS normally assesses complaints within 90 days of receipt and has the power to sanction companies if they are in breach of guidelines. However, if no breach is found then the only option left is to pursue the matter through the Italian courts. This can be costly, as you will have to take care of all legal expenses.

IVASS is currently setting up an insurance ombudsman (Arbitro Assicurativo) as an alternative form of out-of-court insurance dispute resolution. The ombudsman scheme is due to launch in 2023 (link in Italian).

Roadside assistance in Italy

You can purchase breakdown assistance from most car insurance companies in Italy. However, you typically need to choose this as an add-on unless you have bought a comprehensive policy. Alternatively, you can join the Automobile Club d’Italia (ACI – link in Italian), which is a non-profit statutory organization that provides a range of services to Italian drivers.

The ACI has a free number (803 116) which you can use 24/7 on any day of the year if your car breaks down on Italian roads. Different memberships are available, starting at €35 a year.

If you are involved in a serious accident, you will need to contact emergency services at 112.

Useful resources