Travel Insurance: Turkey

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Traveling to Turkey? Make sure you’ve got travel insurance so you can relax and enjoy your trip

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Roof-level view of Istanbul

Why do I need travel insurance for Turkey?

Travel insurance is essential if you’re planning a holiday in Turkey.

If you became ill, had an accident, were the victim of crime or lost your baggage while on holiday there, your travel insurance policy would cover you. Likewise, it would provide financial protection if you needed to cut short or cancel your trip in an emergency.

What should my travel insurance policy for Turkey include?

A good travel insurance policy for Turkey should include the following:

  • Cover for medical expenses, usually up to a limit of £5m.
  • Cover for the cost of repatriation (bringing you back to the UK).
  • Cancellation or curtailment cover, in case you have to end your holiday early or an emergency prevents you from going.
  • Delay and missed departure cover, in case you miss your flight due to circumstances beyond your control (such as your car breaking down or extreme weather).
  • Travel abandonment cover, for unusual cases where you have to give up trying to get to your destination.
  • Baggage cover, in case your belongings are lost or stolen during your trip. Make sure you have cover for any costly individual items, such as precious pieces of jewellery.
  • Passport cover - because getting a replacement passport while abroad can be both complicated and expensive.
  • Personal liability cover. This protects you in case something you do causes injury to someone else, or the loss or damage of their possessions.

Turkey travel insurance: exclusions and things to watch out for

Most travel insurance policies come with exclusions you should be aware of.

These often include:

  • Cover for pre-existing medical conditions. For example, if you have diabetes and become unwell on holiday as a direct result, you will be unable to claim if you have a standard policy. That said, you might be able to ‘extend’ the cover under your policy by paying extra, or it may be necessary to take out specialist cover.
  • Cover in the event of unexpected incidents such as civil unrest, terrorism, and the effects of certain natural disasters.
  • Cover for accidents or injuries arising from intoxication. If you have one too many drinks while on holiday in Turkey and hurt yourself or someone else as a consequence, your travel insurer will almost certainly refuse to pay out.
  • Cover for travel to locations that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised should be avoided.
  • Cover for accidents or injuries that happen while taking part in winter sports such as skiing (popular in some mountainous parts of Turkey), and water sports such as scuba diving. If you plan to do something adventurous while on holiday, make sure you include specific cover for these activities in your travel insurance policy.

Also, make sure you’re happy with the excess payable under your travel insurance policy. While opting for a high excess might help to slightly reduce the cost of your cover, this could leave you cash-strapped if you end up needing to make a claim.

Finally, start your travel insurance policy from the day you book your trip - not from the date when you are planning to go away. If you delay the start of your policy, you will not be covered if you unexpectedly need to cancel your holiday.

Is Turkey considered a part of Europe?

If you are buying Europe-wide travel insurance, make sure that Turkey is included within the countries covered. While some companies treat Turkey as though it is part of Europe, other travel insurers class it as a ‘worldwide’ destination - so it’s vital that you check.

Will my EHIC cover me in Turkey?

No. Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Turkey.

The EHIC scheme allows travellers to access to state-provided health care within member countries, so visitors are entitled to the same medical treatment that citizens of participating countries could expect to receive.

Turkey is not part of the EHIC group - but even if it were, taking your card on holiday would be no substitute for buying travel insurance.

If you broke a bone while hiking in a remote area of any EHIC country and had to be airlifted to hospital, the EHIC alone might help to cover your medical expenses - but you could still be left with a huge bill for your rescue.

If you had a travel insurance policy in place, however, your insurer would cover this cost.

Top travel tips for Turkey

1. Check your passport’s expiry date

You’ll need a visa to enter Turkey, but may be refused one if your passport isn’t valid for at least another six months.

The FCO recommends that visitors to Turkey apply for their visa online and in advance, which costs $20. However, make sure you only do this via the official Republic of Turkey eVisa website. Unofficial and unscrupulous sites may charge you extra fees or even issue you with a fake visa.

2. Carry some cash

Turkish ATMs are unlikely to be as plentiful as those in most parts of the UK - and even if you’re able to find one, there’s no guarantee it will accept your card. Carrying some cash in US dollars or Euros is a good idea, as these currencies are the most easily converted into Turkish lira.

3. Dress considerately

While you’ll find that top tourist destinations have a relaxed, Westernised approach to clothing, if you travel off the beaten track it’s a good idea for women to dress in a way that will help to avoid unwanted attention. Avoid figure-hugging clothes and instead opt for light, loose garments that provide some cover for your arms, legs and chest.

4. Learn the lingo

Turkish people are well known for being warm and welcoming, and a sure way to make friends is to learn a few words of their language.

A simple Turkish phrase book could also come in handy if you head off on a day trip outside your resort, as you’re less likely to find confident English speakers away from top tourist destinations.

5. Look out for the nearest loo...

While your holiday resort may be flush with luxury bathrooms, other places you visit might offer somewhat simpler toileting facilities.

‘Squats’ - or holes in the ground, for the unfamiliar - are likely to be found in Turkey’s more authentic destinations, so make sure you’re prepared in advance with antibacterial hand gel and wipes - or that you avail yourself of the nearest ‘Western’ toilet before you head off anywhere adventurous.

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