We are planning our trip to Iceland and want to rent a car for a few days. A few trips (i. e. to Svartifoss) might go a bit off road. Does it make sense to buy a Gravel protection insurance, or is this unnecessary? How about sand and ash insurance?

The car rental website states:

Gravel protection: Covers damages to wind screen, headlights and the car when gravel or rocks get thrown at the vehicle by another car.

The renter is able to purchase Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) insurance that covers damage to paint, windows, lights, plastics, chromes and wheels of the rental cars, caused by sand, gravel, ash, pumice, or other earth materials being blown onto the vehicle. The deductible is 50.000 IKR for all rental cars in our fleet.

2 Answers 2


Yes. Anything off the main drag is going to have loose impediments, and a single nick/dent/ding is going to cost a LOT more than the insurance itself. Better safe than sorry, and I learned this the hard way during my trip to Iceland in Jan 2013.

  • 1
    Accepted—Better safe than sorry.
    – Eekhoorn
    May 5, 2014 at 20:32

I was recently in Iceland (early March) and also rented a 4WD, with the intention of going off the main roads, but nothing too adventurous. I also visited Svartifoss. If you are just going to be sticking to the main attractions, you will not get anything worse than a gravel road and maybe a shallow water crossing. I had a bit of ice, but that was because it was March. I ended up getting the gravel/ash/sand insurance, but in the end felt like it wasn't really necessary.

Mind you it's not much extra for peace of mind. The only time you will need it is if a volcano erupts nearby.

  • just as a bit of loosely related advice, if you are getting a 4WD, don't get a Suzuki Jimny - I paid for one but was upgraded to the next one up. Don't think I would have had a good time in a Jiminy.
    – Darko
    May 1, 2014 at 14:10
  • 1
    Could you elaborate what's wrong with a Jimny? I was about to rent one. :)
    – Eekhoorn
    May 1, 2014 at 14:33
  • 2
    I'd never driven or even seen one, but was going to rent it because its the cheapest 4wd to rent. When I got there I was surprised to find that Jimnys are tiny little cars hardly bigger than a hatchback. My gut feel (because I didn't actually drive it) was that I would not feel safe driving in one of those - keep in mind loads of the roads I drove on were very icy due to the time of the year. To be honest, after the fact, I was very glad that we were upgraded, but again we drove on a LOT of ice.
    – Darko
    May 1, 2014 at 15:54
  • 1
    -1: Sorry, but this is not a good advice. I was in Iceland just 2 weeks ago, and I was also hesitating about the gravel protection - but at the end, I decided to get it. It was a good decision! While driving on the main ring road, a 4WD with HUGE tires was driving by (these are very common in Iceland) at about 110 km/h. A small piece of gravel from its tires hit our windscreen, making a small but visible crack in it. Also, the ring road has gravel road sections in the eastern parts. But the main problem is other cars, returning from gravel roads.
    – Marton
    Aug 8, 2014 at 8:35
  • 1
    I am back from Iceland and I have to say that the only bad thing about this trip was this car. I wholeheartedly recommend renting a better one.
    – Eekhoorn
    Aug 8, 2014 at 9:00

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