Marion James, Istanbul
It used to be fairly impossible to purchase travel health insurance in Turkey when going on your overseas holiday – we had to rely on worldwide travel extensions to our turkish health policies (if they existed). Now travel insurance is offered as an option, alongside extra baggage allowance and choice of airline meal, when we purchase our plane tickets on-line.
So it comes as no surprise that there is an increasing interest in travel health policies (Seyahat Sağlık Sigortası).
The Insurance Union of Turkey has just published figures showing that the number of lives insured under policies issued in the first six months of 2016 is 8% up on the same period last year, reaching 1,217,000. This compares with 2.2 million lives insured for the whole of 2015.
The majority of these policies are very short term: 54% are for up to one week with a further 19% for between one and two weeks. Only 5% are annual policies.
Policies cover not just medical treatment while abroad, but also emergency transport to the nearest hospital, medical evacuation and even repatriation of mortal remains.
Nevertheless, even with these increased policy sales, it is estimated that 7 out of every 8 Turks travel abroad without having purchased the necessary travel health policies.