Turkey moved out of Europe – by Post Office travel insurance

 

As Turkey moves closer to the EU, the Post Office in Britain has deemed that the nation lies entirely beyond Europe. Last month, at the start of the school summer holidays, the Post Office moved the boundaries used for its travel insurance policies to exclude Turkey from European cover. Even the European part of Turkey, including Istanbul, is deemed as lying outside the Continent for insurance purposes.

A British woman who bought a policy for her package holiday in the resort of Kusadasi discovered she was not covered only when she was hospitalised. Rebecca Thomas, 22, a retail manager from Solihull, was admitted for treatment for a stomach complaint. But when she contacted the travel insurers, she was told her she was not covered. Her father, David Thomas, is paying the bill – currently standing at £1,400 – by credit card. Yesterday he said: "The Post Office are perfectly entitled to change their geographical coverage, but Turkey is such a big destination that they should make it absolutely clear on the website."

For travellers buying online, such as Rebecca Thomas, the change is revealed only by clicking on a small question mark icon on the Post Office's web page offering travel insurance quotes.

Last year, 2.7 million British citizens visited Turkey. Travel insurance policies covering European holidays have traditionally included it, as well as other nations bordering the Mediterranean. The Post Office followed this practice until 15 July, when it decided to exclude Turkey – together with Egypt. Travellers to these two countries who choose Post Office travel insurance must buy a "Rest of the World" policy, priced at £37 for a week – more than twice as much as the price for Europe. Policies issued before 15 July this year are unaffected.

James Eadie, a spokesman for the Post Office, said: "This change was made to reflect the increased cost in providing this cover. The price charged for the Rest of the World policy is more reflective of the costs associated with the level of claims we are experiencing for Turkey and Egypt."

Both countries specialise in "all-inclusive" holidays, which critics say encourages excessive drinking and thereby increases the risks to travellers. Turkey and Egypt also have very dangerous roads compared with the UK. Although the Foreign Office reports that a relatively small proportion of travellers – one in 5,000 – sought consular assistance, the Post Office move suggests that it was paying out more in claims than it was receiving for policies.

Two of the Post Office's leading rivals, Columbus and InsureandGo, continue to regard Turkey and Egypt as part of Europe. Bob Atkinson, of TravelSupermarket.com, said "Standard practice has always been that Europe is everything west of the Urals, and Turkey has always been considered as Europe by travel insurance companies. It is confusing for customers for them to be treating this differently to the bulk of other companies in the market place."

Despite moving Turkey and Egypt to the "Rest of the World", the Post Office continues to offer "European" cover for visitors to Algeria, Israel and Morocco – all nations carrying strong Foreign Office warnings about risks to travellers.

Case study: 'We never thought she wasn't covered'

Rebecca Thomas, 22, works as a retail manager at the Bullring Centre in Birmingham. She booked a last-minute package holiday to the resort of Kusadasi on the Mediterranean coast – a favourite with many British travellers. Turkey has been the Med's success story of the 21st century, due to its combination of reliable sun, classical heritage and sheer good value.

Before her trip, Rebecca went online to buy travel insurance from the Post Office. "Neither she nor I thought for a second that 'Europe' wouldn't include Turkey," said her father, David.

When Rebecca was hospitalised with a stomach complaint and learned the policy excluded Turkey, David contacted the underwriter, Ageas, who told him to take up the matter with the Post Office. He has filed an online complaint. Her bill stands at £1,400. Meanwhile, Rebecca hopes to fly home as planned tomorrow. David Thomas reports that "the private hospital in Kusadasi were very comprehensive in their treatment and extremely helpful and courteous".

Approved: Israel

Israel receives 165,000 British visitors a year with one in 3,000 requiring consular assistance. While it remains under the threat of terrorist attacks, claims for more everyday problems associated with Turkey are relatively rare, keeping insurance costs low.

Approved: Morocco

Although 17 people were recently killed by a bomb in busy tourist square in Marrakesh, Morocco is deemed a lesser risk. Only about 1 in 3,500 of the 362,000 British visitors require assistance, but its abstinence from alcohol, among other things, means it is not thought to be the source of many minor issues resulting in insurance claims.

Off limits: Turkey

Despite welcoming 2.7 million British visitors a year, a relatively small number – 1 in 5,000 – require consular assistance. It is perhaps the nature of their troubles, however, behind the high cost of insurance. Traffic accidents are common, according to the Foreign Office, and "all-inclusive" trips are blamed for encouraging excessive drinking.

Approved: Algeria

The terrorist threat is high, but only 1 in every 800 of the 10,000 British visitors need consular help. The Foreign Office warns visitors to "exercise extreme caution", but the country is bracketed with Europe due to the low cost of insuring visitors.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

    What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

    Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

    Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

    Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

    Florence Knight's perfect picnic

    Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
    Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

    Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

    The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
    Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

    Mark Hix's summery soups

    Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
    Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

    Tim Sherwood column

    I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

    Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

    The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
    Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

    Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

    The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition