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Avoid Geysir Car Rental

S P
Guildford, United...
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2 posts
7 reviews
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Avoid Geysir Car Rental

There is an article in The Times of London today about some students who went on a holiday to Iceland and rented from Geysir Car Rental. They took out special "gravel protection insurance" which they thought was good as they got caught in some strong winds which kicked up gravel and dust causing damage to their 4x4. Geysir Car Rental held them responsible for the full price of repairing the car, despite having taken out the extra insurance.

Geysir Car Rental said that the insurance only protected against gravel damage caused by other cars, not gravel in the wind. It also said that the car was damaged from being sand-blasted - a problem against which Geysir does not provide insurance, although other car-hire companies including Sixt, Avis and Iceland Car Rental all offer "sand and ask damage" protection as standard.

The article said that the travelling party of five were all students or recent graduates and when they returned the car they were told to pay €4500 on the spot or face arrest. They just managed to scrape together the money after handing over all their cards and clearing out their bank accounts. One of the group had just received her student loan, and had it all taken. They even emptied their pockets of change to that they could not even afford a bottle of water in the airport on the way home.

Despite many attempts to resolve the matter, Geysir Car Rental still have their money, and the party had their holiday spoiled.

I know one car rental company I will not be using if I ever visit Iceland.

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London
England, UK
Iceland
Iceland
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Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
991 Reviews
Reykjavik, Iceland
S P
Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

thetimes.co.uk/tto/…

Toronto
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360 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

I don't have a subscription to the Times, so I can't say whether it is the Times' article or S.P.'s summary of it that is incorrect.

In general, insurance coverage for wind-blown sand or ash is expensive - if it is available at all - and has a high deductible. Driving in a sandstorm is highly inadvisable; blowing sand and ash can strip paint off vehicles and score window glass and headlight lenses. It is quite possible to do 4500 EUR in total damage, if it is necessary to repaint the entire vehicle and replace the windscreen or one or more windows. It is also almost always completely avoidable damage--drivers are warned about high wind and blowing sand conditions by roadside signs.

Looking at the terms and conditions for Sixt Iceland, their Sand and Ash Protection has a deductible of 1500 EUR (or more, depending on vehicle class). Both their Sand and Ash and their Gravel coverage are separate options available for an extra charge on top of the rental rate, they are not part of the base cost.

…sixt.com/rental-service/rental-information/

Similarly, Avis' terms specifically note:

"24. ...insurance does not cover...k. damage caused by sand, gravel, ash, pumice, or other earth material being blown onto the vehicle;"

avis.is/avisonline/…terms__conditions

Iceland Car Rental similarly restricts their CDW and super-CDW (SCDW) policies. The optional Gravel Protection policy is restricted to damage to headlights, windscreen, and body caused by rocks thrown up by other vehicles.

"21) This accident/all-risks insurance does not cover...j) Damages caused by sand, gravel, ash, pumice, or other kinds of earth material being blown onto the vehicle."

www.icelandcarrental.is/Rental-Agreement

Speaking anecdotally, I rented from Geysir about a year and a half ago, and took the optional gravel insurance (but not the SCDW upgrade, as it was covered by my credit card's insurance). Sure enough, I picked up a giant stone chip on my windscreen on the way back to the airport. When I returned the vehicle, I pointed out the divot. The clerk confirmed that I had the gravel coverage, said that it was all taken care of, and sent me on my way with no fuss, muss, or bother.

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Iceland
Iceland
Europe
Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
991 Reviews
Reykjavik, Iceland
London, United...
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2 posts
248 reviews
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3. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

Dear S P

I don't know whether to thank you or sue you -

We had already booked with Geysir before I read your posting and you successfully put me into a state of panic.

I read the parts of the T&C's to see what was and wasn't covered - this is the bit I thank you for, as I was able to have an informed discussion with the guy at the rental desk on our arrival. I agree that some of the staff are less likely to give all the info needed.

The bit that makes me want to sue you is that I got really (unnecessarily) upset about how nasty I thought Geysir would be to me - they were all lovely, friendly, helpful and considerate - and that I took out all sorts of extra (and luckily also unnecessary) insurance cover.

I have no links with Geysir and think that considered information about a company and its staff and customer service is useful, but the blanket negative coverage you have spread about is very personal to you and seems to be something of a vendetta, which is not helpful to others.

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Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
Geysir Bistro Reykjavik
991 Reviews
Reykjavik, Iceland
Eilat, Israel
2 posts
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4. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

hi,

i have the same situation ....

i passed sandstorm and rent-car company wants from me a lot of money for repair the damages.

they said 10 cars was sandblasted only in dollar-trifity company during last sandstorm on 15.09.2013 and about 100 cars total in Iceland.

pls advise what shall i do ?

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Iceland
Iceland
Europe
5. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

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Removed on: 5:35 pm, September 23, 2013
Salisbury, United...
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6. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

If you didn't take out sand, ash and gravel protection there is little you can do. You took the risk and lost.

Icelander in...
Destination Expert
for Iceland
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11,503 posts
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7. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

Pay and smile :-))

Reykjavik
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1,976 posts
34 reviews
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8. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

Since I have already seen at least one other thread where rental companies allegedly threaten calling police and making arrests:

Legally a company can‘t arrest or even threaten arrest in Iceland. They can threaten to call the police but since it’s a civil dispute then I doubt the police would do anything or even show up. If presented with a claim you dispute you are perfectly able to walk out the doors with no further payment at that time. If the rental company persists they can charge the card that was entered for insurance when the car was rented, and the card-holder can dispute the claim through his card-provider. Of course it’s best to solve the situation there and then, but no company can hold you hostage.

As an Icelander I worry at the numerous complaints here on the forum regarding car rentals. At the same time despite brochures being offered with all cars, big stickers restricting off-road driving on the dash, representatives giving a short lecture, signs in the airport on arrival, articles in the in-flight magazine, adverts from the road authorities, internationally acknowledged and standardizes road-signs, toll-free numbers to dial for information (in English)… I still meet Toyota Yaris and Nissan Micra in the highlands; areas I would only go to in a jeep and areas these cars are not supposed to be in.

Just stick to the simple rules people should use wherever and whenever you rent a car:

Rent an appropriate car. If it’s a “normal” car then stick to normal roads.

Check the condition of the car before leaving the parking lot. Take photos and make notes.

Buy the appropriate insurance and be aware of what you DON’T have. If you decide to save on gravel insurance then stay off gravel roads. Also look into what insurance your credit card provider or you travel insurance might offer. This might be cheaper than buying insurance with the car.

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Iceland
Iceland
Europe
Toronto
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360 posts
10 reviews
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9. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

>If you decide to save on gravel insurance then stay off gravel roads.

While this may improve your odds, I will note that on both occasions where I got a stone chip in my windshield, I was driving on good, paved road. Fundamentally, the surface of Iceland is made of rocks, moss, and waterfalls. While the moss and the waterfalls generally stay off the highway, gravel *will* find its way to the road.

In both cases, I carried appropriate insurance coverage (once through the rental agency, and once through my credit card) and had no problems.

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Iceland
Iceland
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Eilat, Israel
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10. Re: Avoid Geysir Car Rental

thx for ur answer....

however i only want to clarify that before i rented the car i asked about my part in case of damage , and the clerk said max Euro 1500. moreover, if is not my guilt , i don't need to pay, he said call to police and they will decide .

I though, i did insurance in my country for $ 1500 , i drive carefully, so...

but if i knew that in some cases they ask me for more than Eu 1500, i would do some for sure !

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