Following the drop in tourist activities and foreign excursions to attraction centers like Pergamum, Mount Nemrut, Aspendos and etc. over the last two (2) years, reports have revealed that the influx of tourists from Eastern Europe and some other parts of this particular continent have soared the rate of tourism in Turkey.
To gain a legitimate entrance to the Turkish territory through a Turkish visa, a valid travel insurance policy will be required, irrespective of the kind of trip embarked upon.
General information about tourist insurance in Turkey
The travel insurance policy is meant to provide free and necessary medical assistance such as analyses, inpatient and outpatient treatment, hospitalization, emergency evacuation, repatriation and etc.
In addition, various kinds of travel insurance policy may provide other kinds of non-medical support through several additional options like luggage and civil liability insurance, provided they are included during the purchase of the insurance policy.
Hence, tourists are advised to wisely select and include suitable options.
Is it necessary to acquire a travel insurance policy to Turkey?
A valid travel insurance policy is a prerequisite to the acquisition of a visa to Turkey. To ensure protection against certain kinds of risky events, it is recommended to obtain an insurance policy with a minimum coverage amount of $30,000. In the absence of a travel insurance, the tourist will bear the costs of any medical or non-medical expenses resulting from an unanticipated and unfortunate event.
Pre-existing conditions must be considered while purchasing an insurance policy, and as such; the traveler should inform the potential insurance provider about his/her health status before purchasing the policy, in order to ascertain the coverage of such condition.
It is also recommended to purchase insurance not later than 5 days before departure from country of residence.
Types of Travel Insurance
Depending on the duration and length of the scheduled trip, the following types of travel insurance policies are listed below as:
Additional options included to extend the coverage capacity of the insurance policy
In addition to the default medical coverage offered by the travel insurance policy, the following supplementary options can be included in the policy at some additional cost, and they are enumerated as follows:
Travel fares are usually nonrefundable, and even when these fares are refunded by the airlines; a certain percentage of the initial fare is returned as a result of arising penalties.
Unfortunately, several circumstance may prevent the traveler from travelling on the scheduled date of the trip, and result in a forceful cancellation of the trip.
If the trip cancellation option is included, the insurance providers will compensate the insured for the cost associated with acquiring the fare.
The trip cancellation option will provide recovery of the fare in the following cases:
Sudden hospitalization of the insured.
Death of the insured or close relative.
The insured is summons to a legal proceeding or to provide evidence in the court of law.
Urgent call to a critical military assignment.
Note: In the event of the aforementioned cases, the trip cancellation option will necessitate compensation if the trip is cancelled before the occurrence of such event, and if the insured provides documented evidence.
Dental insurance is designed to provide access to oral and dental care, assistance in payment of basic preventive and fundamental services for travelers.
Provided this option is included, it will cover the following services below:
Filling of gaps.
Crowns and root Canals.
Oral Examinations by the Dentist.
This option is a non-medical option that covers the legal liability arising from property damage or bodily injuries inflicted on a third-party by the policy holder, provided it is included.
For instance, an insured may unintentionally damage an artifact at the Aya Sofya museum, or cause a third-party to twist an ankle during a soccer match. The personal liability insurance will cover the legal liability of the insured due to these damages and injuries, especially when the third-party sues the insured.
Negotiating with the offended party on behalf of the insured.
Settlement of legal issues between the insured and offended third-party.
Acquisition of a competent advocate to defend the insured.
Coverage of cost for defending the insured in cases of litigation.
Treatment of an individual, when the insured inflicts injury and pain. This benefit depends on the insured amount. If the cost of treatment exceeds the insured sum, the remaining liability will be borne by the insured.
Replacement or repair of a third-party’s property that is damaged by the insured
Baggage Insurance covers the insured from risks associated with loss or damage of personal belonging to theft, fire or disasters, while the insured is absent from his/her country of residence.
The coverage of reasonable expenses resulting from the loss or damage of properties like cash, tickets, credit cards, driver's license, securities and passport, depends on:
Terms and conditions stated in the insurance policy document.
Inclusion of the baggage Insurance as one of the additional options in the insurance policy.
The probability of experiencing loss or theft of baggage during a scheduled trip exists, and these situations will be covered by the insurance policy, upon the inclusion of this particular option.
In order to have a wonderful and remarkable experience in Turkey, several tourists engage themselves in certain kinds of outdoor activities. For instance, they may participate in exercises like surfing, diving, horse riding or paragliding at Ӧlϋdeniz.
Unfortunately, the most serious injuries are sustained during sport activities, and as a result, it is highly recommended to include the sport insurance option, if these outdoor activities are envisaged by the insured.
In case of serious injury at remote locations, only a handful of insurance companies like Allianz will propose to evacuation a victim by helicopter. If the insured envisages engaging on an extreme kind of outdoor sport, the insured should indicate his/her intentions by selecting or indicating requirements for:
Expenses for involuntary dental care, provided the dental insurance option is included.
Compensation for the loss or theft of documents and other personal properties, especially if the Luggage insurance is included.
Expenses on legal services arising from damage of a third party’s belonging, provided the civil liability insurance is included.
Emergency evacuation and Repatriation (in case of death).
The insurance company will not be responsible for covering medical expenses associated with cases of suicide or deliberate self-inflicted injuries.
False declaration of health status. If the insured provides wrong information about his/her health condition, the insurance company will refuse subsequent coverage. Hence, it is better to present valid information about insured’s health condition, even when these issues are confirmed after purchasing the insurance policy. For instance if the insured is diagnosed of a terminal illness that was not stated initially, the insured must inform the insurance company in order to prevent denial.
Pre-existing conditions are not covered by several insurers, and only a handful of these insurers would cover pre-existing conditions at a high premium.
Accidents caused as a result of drug abuse or excessive intake alcoholic products will be denied by the insurance company
The insurance company will not be responsible for covering the expenses associated with treating menstrual abnormalities, impotency, birth control and artificial insemination.
Trips to regions of Turkey experiencing terrorism or state of emergency may not be covered by the insurance company.
Travelling for the sole purpose of receiving medical treatment will not be covered by the insurance company.
The insurance coverage will fail if the accidents are experienced as a result of the insured’s fault. For example, if the insured fails to pay attention to risk reports and updates provided by either the insurer or Turkish local authorities.
What to do if an insured event occurs
Inform the company’s customer care of all the necessary details regarding the insured event and the symptoms of any sudden illness. Also report contraindications and / or allergies to medications. If possible, duplicate message by e-mail. Provide the following information: Surname, name, insurance policy number, the name and exact address of the insurance company with policyholders’ phone number for a call back.
After that, instructions about the medical institution will be sent. If the indicated address is far from Insureds address - specify the required means of transport to the hospital. If transport payments are made by the insured, he/she must save all documents confirming the expenses on transportation costs. The cost and the route (if possible) should be indicated in the documents.
The insured must not pay for any service in the hospital, except copays— which are required for partially covered medical expenses. Do not leave any documents at the front desk of the clinic.
The insured must preserve all documents confirming the costs medications. If the name of the purchased drug does not coincide with the name of the medicine in the doctor’s prescription, the generic name of such medications must be obtained from the pharmacy.
If the Insured is directed by the customer care to a medical institution in which it is necessary to make payment in cash with subsequent compensation of expenses, the Insured must obtain the following documents:
An invoice for payment confirmation.
Doctor’s statement indicating the diagnosis in English.
Do not contact medical institutions until you receive approval from the insurer’s customer care. Such treatment will require the insured to bear the cost of the medical services without receiving compensation from insurance company in future.
Cost of medical Services in Turkey
The cost of medical services in Turkey are quite expensive and they depend on the kind of technical equipment utilized by the clinic. Here are some prices:
Consultation of a specialist doctor - from 60 Euros
Ultrasound - 40 Euro
General blood test - 15 Euro
Hospitalization for one day in a private clinic - from 500 Euros
Emergency telephones Numbers
In Turkey, the first medical aid will be provided free of charge in the state hospital, But it will be necessary to pay for the rest of the treatment.
Such institutions are designated by a blue street shield or a banner with a white letter "H".
Certificate of vaccination is not required while travelling to Turkey. However, it is necessary for the insured to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis A and B (important for pregnant women) before leaving for Turkey.
In the resort areas there are practically no dangerous marine inhabitants. However there are dangerous terrestrial creatures like snakes and scorpions. Therefore, the insured should be careful while visiting archaeological excavations. If the insured is bitten, he/she should immediately consult a doctor. Mosquitoes are common almost throughout the territory. It is desirable to stock up repellents at home - in Turkey, such aerosols are scarce. It is also recommended to wear clothing that protects all parts of the skin as much as possible. A particular danger is fungal diseases. Because of the humid hot climate, they are very common, so the insured is encouraged to monitor the condition of his/her legs. In such conditions, even a slight scratch can cause inflammation.
One of the most common risks is gastric and intestinal disorders. Many tourists are facing this problem. These issues occur due to inadequate compliance with hygienic conditions in the hotel and low quality food. More so, another cause of food poisoning is the excessive intake of several strange foods at the same time.
Turkey is characterized by a hot summer without precipitation and a warm, but damp, foggy winter. In July and August, the air temperature increase to 37 ° C, therefore from 11:00 to 15:00, it is not recommended to be outdoor. Due to the sun intensity, tourists are advised to prevent excessive exposure the sun, heat stroke and dehydration. Therefore, it is always advisable to wear glasses with glass filters, carry a bottle of water, carry light clothing, which would protect the body as much as possible.
It is not recommended to swim in the strange water body, because they might be shallow with stony bottom. At times, they could contain algae and seashells, and this could pose serious threats of injuries to a swimmer.
Drinking water from a tap is discouraged, even at home. The composition of the microflora in Turkish water will be completely different. Purchasing bottled drinking water is suggested to avoid poisoning and risk of Typhoid. Several hotels have water dispensers and disposable cups in their halls.
Cases of terrorist acts.
Incidents of gang fight in hotels.
Theft of personal belongings in hotels.
Tourists are advised to move in groups especially while shopping, and avoid isolation. Women are also advised to dress decently.
Medical situation in Turkey
Compared to other parts of Europe, the medical services are less expensive in Turkey. Foreign citizens can obtain medical services from the private health institutions. Most of the Turkish citizens possess insurance benefits that are provided by their employers or pension fund. The population of Doctors in Turkey is quite low, and as such; family Doctors are rare and if an individual is sick, he/she must go to the clinic or call the ambulance. The Turkish authorities are strict and unambiguous, and as a result of that; corruption is highly reduced in the Turkish health sector. According to statistics published by the Turkish Health Alliance, there are more than 1000 patients per Doctor, while in the Eastern-Europe, this figure is five times lower. Presently, Turkey possesses about 100,000 qualified Doctors, and this amount is predicated to double by 2023. The clinics are usually characterized by long waits on queues by patients.
Prescribed medicines are offered at discounts in clinics. However, the possession of a Turkish medical insurance or any other insurance policy is required to obtain medical prescription. Drugs are quite expensive, for instance; the Turkish “zelenka” will cost 10 dollars without insurance. It is very easy to identify a pharmacy in Turkey, and they are commonly call “ECZANE”. The common name is inscribed in front of every Turkish pharmacy. Besides, several pharmacies operate for 24 hours in each major City.