Cost to rent a car
8 Things You Should Know Before Renting A Car In Iceland (2019 Update)
UPDATE: February 2019
Going to Iceland? Great choice! I have some advice about driving around the island, and what challenges await you. Especially if you are taking my 14 days road trip around Iceland, the hints here will be very useful!
The country has no trains. Buses are almost non-existent. Hitchhiking (although possible) can be frustrating, as there are not that many empty cars passing by. There is no better way to explore this over 100 000 square km (40 000 square miles) island than by car!
I loved traveling this way in Iceland in particular because it gives you the freedom to choose your own route and the flexibility of doing things at the pace that is convenient to you. Not to mention that Icelandic roads take you to some out-of-this-world landscapes!
I recommend checking out these 2 aggregators – AutoEurope and RentalCars – just go for the best available price on one of them! At the moment they are the best deal finders for rental car companies in Iceland. This is why I can vouch for both of them:
- It compares rates for car rental companies in Iceland – both International chains and reputable local companies.
- They also offer low rate guarantee!
- No need to use your credit card to book
- They have 24/7 support and great reviews
Everybody told me before the trip: “Driving in Iceland has nothing to do with driving wherever you are from” and I can only repeat it to you now.
But don’t worry, there is nothing to be scared of, it’s just a bit different. Keep reading and you will be fine!
1. Think ahead when renting a car in Iceland!
Each year more and more tourists come to the country of ice. Even though there are many car rental companies in Iceland (mostly in Reykjavik), the most efficient cost/performance options will be sold out quickly.
You want to be among the ones who got the best deal, right?
It does not matter how far in advance you are planning, you can already check the rates for your dates now:
See Bonus 2 below to choose the most convenient car type for you and for the type of trip you are going to do. As I said earlier, the more in advance you book, the more options you will have to choose from.
This might be obvious, but if you want to further reduce on the cor hire cost, invite your friends to join the trip! You will benefit twice by sharing this amazing journey with people you love, and reduce the cost per person of transportation!
NOTE: You’ll need some items for this trip and it’s a lot better if you can buy them from home. Iceland is very expensive compared to any country I’ve been to, so I think getting some items at home might save you a lot of money you can later use for your fuel!
- A good waterproof and winbreaker jacket – a must have in Iceland, I’ve been there in August and although it was the summer, it was cold, raining and windy almost everyday.
- Hiking boots – you’ll need a good comfortable pair, and the prices for these in Reykjavik were plain scary.
- A thermos – sometimes you’ll go for hours without finding a place to take a coffee or tea, and I love tea! This was one of my most used items.
- A GPS device – it will be at least 10-15USD per day if you rent one, this way you can bring your own and use it back home as well!
Don’t leave home without these essentials for your Iceland holiday:
PRO TIP: Most car hire companies are located directly in Keflavik Airport (which is the name of the Reykjavik International Airport). Taking a car as soon as you land makes sense because getting to Reykjavik city is about 11 EUR per person. Or, maybe the company you chose offers free transfer from the airport to their office? If not, how much will it cost? The company I used and can highly recommend (Lagoon Car Rental) has an office about 5 minutes driving away from the airport. They were waiting for us with the sign and gave us a ride to the office free of charge!
2. Get that extra insurance!
Great! Now, don’t argue and get the gravel road insurance (consider ash and ice insurance if you are going in the winter or in an areas with much volcanic ash). Below is a hack on how to significantly lower your insurance price, read on.
Gravel roads are roads that are good enough to drive on (and usually lead to a spectacular natural wonder!), but they are full of little rocks. It only takes one little rock thrown on the body of your car, or worse – on your windshield, to open a crack that will make you good to pay for a new windshield/paint job. The same goes for the ash and ice in high winds. Those act exactly like rocks and can damage your car in no time.
- Check if your personal vehicle insurance covers car rentals. Some do and that would save you a lot of money
- Check if your credit card covers oversea car insurance (you can call the bank directly if you are not sure)
- If you do need to buy the insurance, use Bonzah. Bonzah is a third-party insurance provider that has MUCH better rates than the car hire company directly – about 8 US$ a day on average instead of 30 USA that we paid per day. NOTE: Make sure to buy it BEFORE you start driving, otherwise it will not work.
If you are not from the US (I know the feeling, I am from Russia) and there is no insurance coverage by your bank etc, you can buy the extra insurance online when booking your car. I know it is more pricey, but better safe then sorry!