Although there are worse things in life than death (like spending an evening with a life insurance salesman), your dependants may rate your death without life insurance high on their list. Many Italian companies provide free life insurance (assicurazione sulla vita or polizza assicurativa/vita) as an employment benefit, although it may be accident life insurance only. You can take out life insurance or an endowment policy with numerous Italian and foreign insurance companies. Note that Italian policies are usually for life insurance and not for assurance. (An assurance policy covers an eventuality that's certain to occur, e.g. your death, so a life assurance policy is valid until you die; an insurance policy covers a possible event, e.g. an accident).
In certain cases, life insurance premiums are tax-deductible and a life policy can be useful as security for a bank loan and can be limited to cover the period of the loan.
A life insurance policy intended to take advantage of Italian law is (obviously) best taken out in Italy. However, Italian insurance companies are notoriously slow in paying out on policies that have matured, such as endowment policies (Italy is the only country where the beneficiaries of life policies are likely to die before getting paid!).
It's recommended to leave copies of all insurance policies with your will and with your lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer, keep a copy in a safe deposit box. A life insurance policy must usually be sent to the insurance company upon the death of the insured, with a copy of the death certificate.
This excerpt has been republished with permission from Survival Books. Some of the information may apply to EU citizens only. If you would like to get the inside track on moving to Italy, pick up your copy of this great book by clicking here.