Turkey travel insurance

Make sure your trip stays a delight. Choose travel insurance for Turkey.

Eve Powell
Eve Powell
Updated 22 May 2023  | 3 mins read

Travelling to Turkey

From exploring ancient history and wandering spice-laden markets to relaxing on its sunny shores, Turkey ticks a lot of boxes.

With more than 350 Blue Flag beaches, there are plenty of resorts to choose from. And if water sports are your thing, the opportunities are endless.

Turkish lira is the national currency, although many tourist areas accept euros too. One thing’s for certain, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you’re looking for souvenirs.

But to come home with the best holiday memories, be sure to take travel insurance with you.

Do you need travel insurance when visiting Turkey?

Taking out travel insurance isn’t compulsory for a trip to Turkey. But it’s sensible so you can be protected against unexpected events.

It’s best to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That way you’re covered in case you later need to cancel for reasons beyond your control.

Even when you’re on holiday, things don’t always go to plan. And unfortunately, in Turkey, you won’t be able to use an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or General Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to access free urgent medical treatment.

So if something suddenly affects your trip - like, getting injured while you were away - you could be facing expensive costs without any cover in place.

What does travel insurance for Turkey cover?

Every insurer will offer different levels of protection. But to have peace of mind in Turkey, look out for a policy that covers:

  1. Medical expenses

    Travel insurance will cover you if you get ill or accidentally injured on holiday, typically for costs up to £5 million.

  2. Cancellation or trip curtailment

    You’ll be covered if you need to cancel or cut short your trip because of an emergency.

  3. Delays or missed departures for reasons outside your control (like extreme weather)

    It can cover costs like extra accommodation and car hire if you’re unable to travel.

  4. Repatriation to the UK

    This covers the cost to transport you back home after an illness or injury, or death.

  5. Lost or stolen possessions

    If you’re taking expensive items with you, check the single-item limit. You may need to pay extra to cover them.

  6. Loss or theft of passport

    Most policies will cover the cost of replacements.

  7. Personal liability cover

    This can cover legal costs if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property.

Are there any exclusions?

Yes, you’ll need to check your policy documents but situations and circumstances that won’t be covered on your Turkey trip include:

  • Adventure sports - There are plenty of activities like scuba diving and paragliding on offer in Turkey, but most policies won’t provide cover unless you buy an add-on.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions – Failing to declare any of your health problems when taking out cover could invalidate your policy, meaning any potential claim is rejected.
  • Cosmetic surgery - Turkey is a popular destination for medical tourism, but elective treatment won’t be covered by standard travel insurance - you’ll need a specialist policy.
  • Not leaving yourself enough time - If you miss your departure because you overslept or got stuck in traffic, any claim you make is likely to be rejected.
  • Travelling against government advice - Some parts of Turkey are more at risk of events like terrorist attacks. You won’t be covered if you travel against foreign travel advice.

What is the standard of healthcare in Turkey?

There are public and private hospitals in Turkey, but you won’t be able to use your EHIC or GHIC card to access free treatment.

State healthcare generally provides standards similar to the NHS. However, unless it’s an emergency, tourists are usually sent to private hospitals.

These aren’t as expensive as the UK, but the costs can soon add up - so make sure your travel insurance has enough cover.

You can also use one of the many pharmacies in Turkey. Most are open 24 hours and pharmacists are able to provide consultations and prescribe medication.

But if it’s an emergency, you can call 112 and ask for an ambulance. Just bear in mind that private ambulances tend to arrive more quickly.

Travel risks in Turkey

Crime levels in Turkey are moderate. You may encounter pickpocketing, particularly in the larger cities like Istanbul.

We found that 73% of 1,046 annual travel insurance policies on Defaqto covered money up to a maximum sum of £399 or less, and 26% offered a benefit for injury following a mugging of up to £1,999.[3]

Check gov.uk to find the latest information about safe places to travel, terrorism, and safety when visiting Turkey.

Things to know when travelling to Turkey

  • Climate - It can get very hot during peak season. So if you prefer warm rather than sizzling conditions, you may be better off visiting in the spring or autumn.
  • Culture - Turkish people are known for their hospitality. And serving tea to guests is a big part of the culture, so you’ll often be offered a glass in shops as a friendly gesture.
  • Religion - More than 99% of the population is Muslim and the atmospheric call to prayer can be heard sounding out through the streets.
  • Food - Colourful and delicious, the cuisine includes meze-style dishes, kebabs, breads, and dips. For dessert, there’s syrupy baklava and of course, Turkish delight.
  • Language - Turkish is the national language, although English is often spoken in tourist areas. But to help you get by, it’s good to learn a few key phrases too.
  • Vaccinations - You should be up to date with your routine vaccinations - it’s recommended you have hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid and tetanus vaccines, but check current advice.
  • Tipping - Tipping staff and waiters in Turkey is completely optional, but a tip of between 10% and 15% is typical if you want to leave something for good service.
  • Haggling - Lastly, expect to barter for souvenirs or items sold by street traders. It’s reflected in the price, so a good rule of thumb is to knock off between 20% and 30%.

Is Turkey classed as Europe for travel insurance?

This depends on the insurer - although Turkey isn’t in the European Union, some include it under European cover. Otherwise, Turkey will fall under worldwide travel cover.

To make sure you’ve got the right cover for your trip, check your policy details.

Will I need a visa?

If you’re a British passport holder, you won’t need a visa for Turkey unless you’ll be staying for longer than 90 days in any 180-day period.

You can buy an e-visa online using the official Republic of Turkey e-visa website. Apply at least 48 hours before travel and keep a printed copy of your e-visa with you.

Be aware that your passport should be valid for at least 150 days from the date you arrive.

For more information, check the government’s website for advice about Turkey’s entry requirements.

[3]Last checked 11 May 2023