Travel insurance for Turkey

A trip to Turkey offers toasty beaches and tourist treats aplenty. No wonder it’s so popular with holidaymakers from the UK and elsewhere.

If you’re making the journey, make sure you know what to expect in terms of the local culture, access to healthcare, potential risks to watch out for, and why having travel insurance is important.

Cappadocia with hot air balloons flying around the sky

Covid-19 travel restrictions

Coronavirus continues to disrupt travel to some destinations. The UK government regularly updates the list of countries you can travel to, but that doesn’t mean there will be no restrictions. It’s your responsibility to check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice before you travel. Your travel insurance policy won’t be valid if you travel against it.

The same applies for any local entry requirements, such as testing, or restrictions in your destination country, like local lockdowns or curfews. Advice may differ by city or region or prevent certain activities. It’s up to you to check local coronavirus laws, guidelines and requirements in plenty of time before you go. Check what’s expected in your destination country.

The travel information below was written before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Travelling to Turkey?

Turkey has one of the most fascinating histories of any country worldwide, with a myriad of ancient civilisations having called it home as well as a vibrant and diverse contemporary culture.

It has something for everyone, from shimmering beaches to bustling cities; remote and historic settlements to modern shopping. Its unique cuisine, spellbinding architecture, colourful bazaars and abundance of history have made it one of Brits’ favourite holiday destinations.

Before jetting off to see its many sights, make sure you’re aware of the reasons you need adequate travel insurance for Turkey.

The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira. Before you travel, make sure you have enough of the currency in notes. Or alternatively you can load it onto a prepaid travel money card, for easy access to your holiday cash while you're away.

Protect what matters when you go with good travel insurance

Healthcare for Brits in Turkey

You will need to have holiday insurance with good medical cover to ensure you’re not out of pocket if something should go wrong.

You may need to get certain jabs before visiting Turkey, so make sure to see your doctor at least 6 weeks before travelling.

Turkey has an abundance of stray animals, particularly cats and dogs. While the cat that jumps onto your café table may seem cute, animal-borne diseases like rabies and parasites such as fleas are present in Turkey, so it’s better to stay away.

If you suffer a medical emergency, dial 112 to request an ambulance. Be sure to alert your travel insurance company as soon as this happens.

Travel risks in Turkey

The political climate in Turkey was very tense for a while following a failed coup attempt in 2016 by groups hostile to President Erdogan. These tensions culminated in general and parliamentary elections in 2018. The situation has since calmed and a state of emergency imposed after the coup attempt has been lifted, though some restrictions remain in place.

The FCDO advise staying away from demonstrations. The south east of the country borders Syria and Iraq, and the FCDO advise against any travel to this area. There is also a list of the provinces where terrorism and hostage taking are most likely.

Regional considerations

Istanbul is one of the most popular destinations for holidaymakers travelling to Turkey. It’s a what’s-what of historical monuments and areas, with the Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque , Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern and Istiklal Avenue to name a few. No wonder it’s a big draw for tourists.

But as is often the way with populated areas, pickpocketing can occur. To make sure you’re staying safe when you’re on the move, follow the advice in our guide. If you’re visiting one of Turkey’s many beautiful beach resorts, then take care to protect your valuables by following these simple tips.

There are regions of Turkey that the FCDO advises against travelling to, located in the south, southeast and east of the country. Consult their page for details. Your holiday insurance may be invalid if you travel to these areas.

Turkish culture

Turkey has become a more conservative country in recent years, however is still a largely secular and liberal place. Always be respectful of local customs, such as wearing appropriate clothing and covering up when visiting mosques or religious sites.

It is an offence to damage Turkish currency or be disrespectful to the Turkish nation and its flag and can come with heavy penalties. If in doubt, try not to engage in political discussion and be careful about voicing thoughts that might be considered as insulting or offensive.

Turkish culture is very sociable and you shouldn’t be concerned by people wanting to engage you in conversation. Food, coffee and tea are great ways to find out about Turkish social life, as well as more unconventional experiences like Hammams (traditional Turkish baths).

Turkey is keen to become a cashless culture, however it’s wise to have a ready supply of Turkish lira for street vendors and cafés. You can also take a prepaid travel money card, which gives you the freedom to pay by cash or card and helps you budget too, since you can't spend more than you have loaded onto it.

Is travel insurance mandatory for Turkey?

Having travel insurance for Turkey isn’t compulsory but it can provide welcome reassurance if something goes wrong on your trip – from delays and cancellations to lost or stolen luggage or the need to seek emergency medical treatment and more.

With the right level of cover in place, you’ll be able to claim back expenses or losses you incur from accidents, illness, theft and travel disruptions. It can also give you access to emergency assistance if you’re faced with any such issues.

Always check what you are covered for, as different travel insurers will have different exclusions. Adventure activities like pony-trekking, scuba-diving, surfing and cycling might not be covered – or only be covered in certain circumstances. Taking a copy of your holiday insurance policy with you means you can check spontaneous activities before deciding to participate in them, and it will have all of the important contact details in case something goes wrong.

Is Turkey covered by European travel insurance?

This can vary by travel insurance provider. Some, including Post Office Travel Insurance, class Turkey as part of Europe in their policies even though it’s not part of the European Union. Others consider it outside Europe, including it in their worldwide cover instead. Whichever provider you go with, make sure you check to be sure.

Make the most of your holiday

Whether you’re getting stuck into Turkey’s ancient cultural heritage or simply enjoying the reliably brilliant weather, we want you to have a great time. By following good travel advice and doing a bit of preparation, you can relax and make the most of your holiday.

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