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Italy lockdown: Here’s what to do if you’re worried about your holiday plans this summer


by Erin Lindsay
10th Mar 2020
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With the Italian government announcing an effective lockdown across the country due to coronavirus, here is the best advice to deal with impending holidays


With news breaking last night that Italy has effectively issued a lockdown across the country due to rising levels of coronavirus, upcoming travel plans hang in the balance for many Irish holidaymakers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has classed Italy as a ‘Do Not Travel’ zone — they advise no travel in or out of Italy. At present, airports in Italy are still open to facilitate tourists leaving the country and returning home, but all travel between Italian regions is now prohibited, except for any necessary travel for work or for emergencies.

If you or someone you know were planning a trip to Italy in the coming months, or anywhere that may be affected by the coronavirus, this can be a scary and confusing time. However, there are plenty of options to make sure you have all the information you need.

GoCompare, the UK-based insurance comparison site, has issued a ten-step plan for holidaymakers to be better prepared for any travel they have planned this year.

Their biggest message is, to anyone who has a summer holiday booked, to purchase travel insurance as early as possible if they haven’t already. If you have travel insurance before travel restrictions are issued by a country’s, you are likely to be covered in the eventuality that your holiday is restricted. Unfortunately for those planning trips to Italy, buying travel insurance now, after the nationwide restrictions have already been announced, means you’re unlikely to be covered.

GoCompare’s ten-point plan to prepare for travel is outlined here:

  1. If you were going to travel to Italy in the next few weeks, talk to your travel agent or airline/hotel provider to see what options you have.
  2. If you booked your trip yourself (without using a travel agent) and purchased travel insurance, talk to your insurer.
  3. If you booked the trip yourself and don’t have travel insurance cover already in place, it’s unlikely you’ll have anything to fall back on, unless you can make alternative arrangements.
  4. If you’re planning a trip to other parts of the world, make sure you have travel insurance in place as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. Popular holiday destinations like Spain and France are also dealing with serious outbreaks and their governments may issue travel restrictions similar to Italy’s in the near future. Get in touch with your insurer to check what you’re covered for.
  5. If your destination has travel restrictions imposed before you buy your policy, an insurer won’t pay out.
  6. If you have insurance in place and the Department of Foreign Affairs advises against travel to your destination, you should be covered, but this will sometimes be under an extra called ‘travel disruption cover’ — contact your insurer for more information on whether this is in place for you.
  7. If the Department of Foreign Affairs issues travel restrictions to an area, and you go there anyway, you risk invalidating your travel insurance.
  8. Travel insurance may provide cancellation cover if you are advised not to travel for personal medical reasons (like if you start showing symptoms of Covid19), but it won’t cover you if you are just not travelling out of caution.
  9. The coronavirus crisis is putting financial pressure on airlines. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have already suspended flights to and from Italy in light of the outbreak. Check with your insurer about cover levels for SAFI (Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance), as this is the particular area of cover you will need if you book flights and the airline goes bust before you travel.
  10. Take your travel insurance policy number and emergency contact telephone number with you when you travel.

Sally Jaques from GoCompare Travel Insurance, said: “It is important to stress that every policy will vary, and people need to be checking directly with their insurer to understand the cover they have.”

More information on the travel restrictions in Italy can be found on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website.


Read more: Coronavirus: We asked an Irish immunologist about the best and worst case scenario

Read more: Coronavirus: Will I still get paid if I’m forced to self-isolate?

Read more: ‘Stop telling me I’ve nothing to worry about’: why I’m scared of the coronavirus

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