Do I Need Gravel Protection in Iceland?

Do I Need Gravel Protection in Iceland?

Leah BIlquist Leah BIlquist
24. Aug 2022 (Updated: 30. Nov 2022) ∼ 4 min. read

We've all been there, driving down the highway behind a truck, when suddenly a rock flies off, knicking your windshield. Imagine that, times 100?

Driving down a gravel road can cause extreme rock damage, depending on your speed. Iceland has many gravel roads throughout the country; some are a part of major highways, while others are in remote parts of the country. Two of Iceland's most popular routes are home to these roads, so it is essential to be prepared and covered when driving through Iceland.

So what is Gravel Protection insurance, also known as GP insurance? It is a car rental insurance that covers damages from gravel to your personal car or rental car. This damage can include the body of the rental car, the headlights, and even the front windshield.

windshield chip, stone crack in glass

We absolutely recommend getting Gravel Protection when driving your rental car in Iceland. Iceland's roads are unlike other countries since they have an asphalt layer rougher than regular roads. The government does this to provide a steadier grip on the roads for when winter hits. In addition, the gravel rock can help prevent the roads from turning into a sheet of ice.

Watch this video of a Gravel Road in Iceland.

What if you are not driving on any gravel roads?

Well, we still suggest it. Other cars could have been out exploring on gravel roads, which means rocks could be stuck in their tires. Once they are back on paved roads, the stones can move around quite a bit, thus causing them to shuffle out and fly out into the air - right at your car.

Depending on the rock's size and the car's speed, this could cause significant windshield damage. Even if it doesn't fully crack the windshield, you could still get fined for those little knicks and scratches, which can eventually turn into a large windshield crack.

While Iceland has plenty of paved roads, gravel roads are more common. Especially the further you go away from Reykjavik. Famous roads such as the Ring Road have sections of gravel, about 20% of it. In 1978, most of Ring Road was gravel, and then over the years, more sections began being paved over, primarily due to the spike in tourism.

Iceland gravel road along icelandic coast

If you plan to take F Roads, narrow gravel roads accessible with a jeep or 4x4, you absolutely need Gravel Protection Insurance.

Most people ask, "Is our insurance still valid if we drive on F-Roads?" Yes, the only area where there is no possible insurance at all is when crossing rivers. However, you cannot go on F-roads if you have a 2wd rental car. Therefore, you are not insured while driving on F-roads, and you will be liable for fines and costs of repairing any damage to the rental car.

If you choose to rent with us, we include Gravel Protection in your rental car price! Additional non-mandatory, comprehensive gravel protection insurance will cover damages from gravel roads to the windshield and headlights. Without this insurance, Self Risk equals the amount of 450 GBP / 500 EUR / 500 USD.


Do you need a 4x4 in Iceland in winter?

Not all of the time, but during winter is 100% recommended. If you plan on exploring outside of Reykjavik, then a 4X4 rental car is always recommended due to Iceland’s roads.

Is it difficult to drive in Iceland in winter?

Luckily the main roads in Iceland are kept pretty clear during winter. Especially around the coastal areas of Iceland, where roads are more paved. If you are planning on going to remote locations in the winter, plan ahead and check road conditions before venturing out.

Do you need air conditioning in Iceland?

No, you don't necessarily need air conditioning in Iceland. The crisp island air will cool you off instead. Even in the summer months, there is typically a cool breeze. There would have to be a rare heat wave for this to be necessary.

Do I Need Sand and Ash Protection in Iceland?

Long story short, when driving a rental car in Iceland, you should always have Sand and Ash Protection. The rough terrain and the erratic weather make for a perfect storm for possible car damage. Also, we don't think you want to take a hefty credit card bill home with you as a souvenir.