Do I Need Gravel Protection in Iceland?

Do I Need Gravel Protection in Iceland?

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 what speed you are going. Iceland has a large portion of gravel roads throughout the country. Some of them are a part of main 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 important to be prepared and covered when driving through Iceland. 

So what is Gravel Protection, also known as GP? It is insurance that covers damages from gravel to your personal car or rental car. This 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 a layer of asphalt that is rougher than normal roads. The country does this to provide a steadier grip on the roads for when winter hits. The gravel rock can help prevent the roads from turning into a sheet of ice. This is why paved roads tend to be more slippery and prone to car accidents when covered in snow and ice. 

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 packed on paved roads, the rocks can move around quite a bit. Causing them to shuffle out and fly in the air, right at your car. Depending on the size of the rock and the speed of the car, 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. As they can eventually turn into a huge windshield crack. 

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

If you are planning to take F Roads, which are narrow gravel roads that are accessible with a jeep or 4x4, you definitely 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, if you have a 2wd rental car, you are not allowed to go on F-roads. 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 This 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  

Iceland gravel road along icelandic coast


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 areas 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 normally a cool breeze. There would have been a rare heat wave in order 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 SAAP. The mix of the rough terrain and the erratic weather makes for a perfect storm for possible car damage. We don't think you want to take a hefty credit card bill home with you as a souvenir.

The article was written by: Leah Bilquist.

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