Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Uninsured Travel Services

We've received requests about advertised, low-cost day-tour services - the kind that do private excursions to places like Segesta and Mount Etna - and whether they are regulated by law. The main question is if they are fully insured for your safety.

Unfortunately, some are not insured to the extent they should be. Even a few that are advertised on major travel service websites do not carry proper insurance for clients.

Why? Because they are not registered, licensed tour operators. Therefore, some don't even qualify for certain types of liability and accident insurance.

The problem: They lack insurance coverage for injuries that might occur between their parked motor vehicle and the site you must walk to from the car or bus, for example the walk from Segesta's parking lot to its temple.

The (partial) solution: At the very least, ask about this detail before reserving their service.

Some who offer such services are not actually commercial firms but non-profits, typically "cultural associations," which Italian law refers to as an associazione culturale. Just be careful. These folks are readily identified by their ridiculously low prices. (We wouldn't be surprised if they offered you a low-cost trip to the moon!)

The excursions and tours undertaken by such associations may, in themselves, be perfectly legal, but apart from the insurance issue the organizations' personnel, not being licensed tour guides, might not be permitted to lecture groups at major historical sites. This is another factor to bear in mind.

All the travel services advertised on Best of Sicily which offer transportation are legitimate, fully-insured companies. We wish that all travel-oriented websites could say the same thing.

No comments: