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Travel insurance for Turkey

Planning to visit the Hagia Sophia or Anzac Cove? Compare travel insurance for your trip to Turkey online and get covered for a range of travel risks.

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A gateway to Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is a thriving country with lots to see and do, but it doesn't come without its risks. Taking out travel insurance for your trip to Turkey can minimise your financial responsibility if you need to seek medical assistance or if you have something stolen while you're there.

Find out how to get the right insurance for you below.

Do I need travel insurance in Turkey?

Travel advisories are used by insurers to determine where you are and are not covered. Practically no policies will cover you near the Syrian border, many will not cover you in Ankara or Istanbul, but most will cover you in other areas of Turkey. Check whether your policy covers you to visit areas where you should "reconsider your need to travel".

Generally, travel insurance is a must as it provides you with cover for overseas emergency medical costs, including ambulance transport, surgical fees and hospital accommodation. It can also cover you if you have to cancel your trip for an unforeseen reason. What's more, it can offer protection in case your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.

Keep in mind that the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advises travellers to exercise caution while travelling in Turkey as a whole, there are certain provinces where you are advised to reconsider your need to travel, or not travel at all.

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Any travel insurance considerations for Turkey's tourist hotspots?

There are three destinations in Turkey that have become particularly popular with travellers. However, they are not without risks that you should be aware of.

Driving to Gallipoli and Anzac Cove

This destination is particularly significant to both Australians and Turks, as a site of sombre remembrance and education as well as renowned natural beauty. This is a relatively safe area, a popular part of many tourist routes and is relatively easy to drive to.

  • Be aware of potentially severe winter storms in the Gallipoli region and check weather reports before travelling in the area.
  • Watch out for very high volume traffic on coastal roads in the area. Traffic restrictions may apply, but pedestrians will still be able to enjoy full access.
  • Do not wander off the marked paths, observe all signs and warnings and stick with your group.
  • Anzac Cove and Gallipoli are popular areas, and the available tourist services range from the safe and reputable to the dangerous and shady. Avoid using transport and tour operators who don't offer the necessary safety precautions.
  • Consider a travel insurance policy that includes rental car insurance excess to avoid risking a costly fender bender on the unfamiliar roads and traffic if driving to Gallipoli, and be aware that many policies will not cover you for injuries sustained as a result of disobeying signs and warnings.

Staying in Antalya

Turkey has a large coastline with many seaside resorts. Antalya in particular is one of the most popular seaside resort cities, blending a rich local culture and history with spectacular natural scenery, watersports and plenty of tourist activities and nightlife.

  • Stolen belongings will only be covered by travel insurance if you've taken all appropriate steps to secure them. For example, they will not usually be covered if left unattended, in plain view or in an unlocked room or car.
  • Waterskiing, jet skiing, parasailing and other sports carry certain risks. These can be minimised with experience, caution and effective safety equipment. It is possible that your insurer will not cover injuries resulting from these sports if you don't have the right cover, or if you're deemed to have made an unreasonably poor decision in regards to your personal safety.
  • Scuba diving is popular in Turkey thanks to the warm waters and rich marine life, but requires more specialised insurance policies.

Climbing Mount Ararat

Thrill-seekers often find themselves on Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest peak. This climb finds a place on many keen mountaineers' must-do lists, but not because it's an easy ascent. The climb often requires ropes and guides, to say nothing of the risks of rapidly changing weather conditions, altitude sickness, heat exhaustion, illness in an isolated area, and everything else.

  • Many standard travel insurance policies will not cover injuries resulting from attempts to climb this mountain, or other things that can go wrong.
  • Consider getting special travel insurance for rock climbers if you are planning on mountaineering
  • Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions around cover for medical emergencies while overseas
  • Be aware of the possibility of needing a medical evacuation if something goes wrong on the climb, and of the large costs involved.

Will travel insurance cover my medical expenses in Turkey?

Turkey has a robust network of private hospitals, many of which have agreements with different insurers so you can access them with travel cover. There are plenty of medical facilities and options in Turkey, and both public and private hospitals can be expected to provide effective treatment. Whether you're visiting as a tourist or for business, you need to know how your travel health insurance policy will work. Note the following:

  • Non-Turkish speaking visitors are better suited to the private hospital system, as it has considerably better access to English-speaking doctors.
  • EU healthcare cards are not accepted in Turkey. The only people with free healthcare in Turkey are Turkish residents who are registered for social security.
  • Many areas of Turkey do not have adequate local medical facilities for urgent treatments. Emergencies here will typically require medical evacuation or an air ambulance. These are usually very expensive, and require payment up-front. Having a travel health insurance policy can literally save your life if you require a medivac in Turkey, and save you from bankruptcy if you need repatriation.

For these reasons, travel health insurance policies that pay up-front for medical treatments are highly recommended for travelling in Turkey.

What won't travel insurance cover me for in Turkey?

  • Improperly secured belongings. Travel insurance policies will generally not cover stolen possessions if they were not properly secured.
  • Travelling against government advice. As of 2019, the Australian government advises people to exercise a high degree of caution in Turkey as a whole, to reconsider your need to travel to areas like Diyarbakir province or Tunceli province and not to travel to places like the Syrian border. Many policies will not cover you for travelling to "reconsider your need" areas or "do not travel" areas.
  • Reckless activities and behaviour. Excessive drinking, doing anything under the influence of illicit drugs and demonstrably poor judgment can all count as reckless behaviour. Any losses resulting from this will typically not be covered by insurers.
  • High-risk sports and activities. If you'll be ballooning, flying, scuba diving, jet skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing, mountaineering or enjoying other adventure holiday activities in Turkey, you need to be sure your travel insurance covers it.

What should I do if I have an emergency while travelling?

If you have an emergency of any kind while travelling in Turkey you have two avenues for help; your insurer (assuming you have travel insurance) and the Australian consular services.

Steps to take if you have travel insurance

  • Call your insurer for any issue that you could make a claim for, including medical emergencies. Keep your insurance details with you at all times while travelling so you can easily get in touch with them at a moment's notice. Call the local emergency services in Turkey first, and then call your insurer as soon as you can to explain the situation.
  • Leave copies of your insurance details with your nominated emergency contact.

To make a claim, you will generally need to:

  • Keep appropriate details such as police reports, and proof of expenses like receipts, to evidence what happened
  • Contact the insurer as soon as you are reasonably able
  • Fill out a claims form, undergo a phone interview or make a claim online

How to get Australian consular assistance

The Australian embassy and consulates can assist you by:

  • Issuing replacement passports and travel documents.
  • Providing contact details of local hospitals, doctors and lawyers.
  • Offering travel advisories, advice and tips for travellers in Turkey.
  • Providing advice and support in the event of death, missing persons cases and kidnappings.
  • Providing notarial services, such as witnessing or authorising documentation.
  • Making special arrangements in the event of terrorism, civil disturbances or natural disaster.
  • Giving small emergency loans, but only in exceptional circumstances.
  • Contacting friends and family on your behalf, or in special circumstances.
  • Visiting you in jail to check on your welfare, providing details of local lawyers and interpreters if needed, and ensuring that you are being treated fairly in accordance with Turkish law.

The location, address and telephone number of the embassy and consulates can be found on the map below. There is also a 24-hour help line you can call at +61 2 6261 3305 for consular and passport assistance for Turkey in general.

What are the entry and visa requirements for Turkey?

Tourists to Turkey who are staying for up to 90 days in a 180-day period can get an e-visa online prior to entering Turkey or one on arrival. Expect a $60 fee, and other requirements depending on your country of origin and visa, which are explained during your e-visa application.

When is the best time to fly to Turkey?

It's widely agreed that the best time to visit Turkey is in the spring. That being said, there is plenty of things to do and see during other seasons, some of which are outlined below:

SeasonWhat's happening in Turkey?
Spring (March to May)☁ Long days and moderate weather
  • April 7-17: Istanbul Film Festival
  • April 23: National Sovereignty Day (nationwide)
  • April 25: Anzac Day
Summer (June to August)☀ Hot days and little rain, inland areas are usually cool in the evenings
  • May 31 to June 29: Istanbul Music Festival
  • June to July: Ramadan Festival
  • June to November: International Antalya Sand Festival
  • July to September: Side Culture and Art Festival
  • August: Antalya International Folk Music and Dance Festival Competition
Autumn (September to November)☂ Mostly mild weather, with more rainy days than spring
  • September 9: Izmir Liberation Day
  • September 16 to November 12: International Istanbul Biennial
Winter (December to February)❄ Colder days and snow in the Anatolia region, pleasant weather in Mediterranean areas
  • November: Istanbul Marathon – the only marathon in the world to span two continents

How should I handle money in Turkey?

    • Currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). The easiest and most cost-effective way to exchange for them is typically to just wait until you arrive, then find an ATM and withdraw in TL.
    • You can find foreign currency exchanges but you should expect rates to vary widely by location. Airport currency exchanges will almost always offer worse rates than those in the city centre.
    • Don't expect to be able to pay for things with US dollars, and certainly not with Australian dollars. The foreign currency you'll have the most luck using is the Euro, but naturally, you're better off with TL wherever possible. If you're getting a discount for paying cash, then you're more likely to be able to use Euros or US dollars.
    • Many shop owners in Turkey will not accept large denominations. Carry appropriately small denominations when possible.
    • Take full advantage of cards to avoid carrying cash. As a well-developed country and popular global tourist destination, there is no shortage of ATMs, bank branches or currency exchanges in Istanbul, Antalya and other popular spots. Be aware of the risk of pickpockets and bag snatchers, and avoid carrying too much cash or too many valuables with you if possible.

Tips for travelling safely in Turkey

    • 15 February, 21 March, 30 March, 4 April, 1 May, 15 August, 27 November and 19 December all have symbolic significance in the Turkish calendar, and may be more susceptible to terrorist threats. Exercise caution in the days and weeks surrounding these dates.
    • May-October sees heightened malaria risk in the southeast of Turkey, while the start of summer sees the emergence of other insect-borne illnesses. Make sure you are inoculated and take appropriate precautions if visiting Turkey in this period.
    • Avoid areas where large gatherings or demonstrations are occurring, whether or not you are a participant.
    • Tourist destinations, including areas of Ankara, Istanbul and Antalya, have been deliberately targeted by terrorist attacks. Exercise heightened caution in these areas and remain aware of your surroundings and personal safety.
    • Do not travel to or near the border of Syria, or to the city of Diyarbakir. The ongoing conflict in Syria has led to a high number of kidnappings and attacks in these areas.
    • While Turkey is comparatively progressive, relative to other destinations in the region, it is still much safer for LGBT travellers to avoid public displays of affection or visiting certain areas.
    • The consulate can only offer limited assistance if you have broken local laws or otherwise behaved dangerously, recklessly or irresponsibly.

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