Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) in Iceland


Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) in Iceland

When travelling to Iceland and renting a car, most people will be asked whether they require Sand and Ash Protection (SAAP) as part of their rental cover. It can be difficult to know whether this is something you need, especially if you don’t know what it is. The following article offers a comprehensive guide to everything you’ll need to know about SAAP, so you can be better informed when making the decision.

Why do you need SAAP?

In most countries, you can generally gain a rough idea of the type of weather conditions before you travel (and even when you book your holiday months in advance); the same is not true of Iceland. The country’s dramatic landscapes are susceptible to a range of weather conditions, most of which prove challenging to the residents of the UK and Central Europe.

A prime example of Iceland’s changeable weather conditions occurred in 2010, when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and went on to catapult an enormous ash cloud across half of Europe, bringing air travel to a complete standstill for days and leaving large parts of southern Iceland buried beneath layers of sand and ash. Without SAAP, the vehicles affected by the 2010 volcano eruption could have been found liable for any damage caused to their rented vehicle.

Damages that occur from sand and ash will usually result in a high cost of repairs, often ranging from ISK 500.000 to ISK 1.500.000 to amend any damages, whilst the insurance and your self-risk liability has a set fee of ISK 90.000 (maximum).  Therefore, it’s worth considering taking out SAAP to protect against damage to your vehicle’s paint, windows, lights and wheels etc. particularly if such adverse weather conditions are likely.

When should you take out SAAP?

Sandstorms are most common during spring and autumn, if you are going to be travelling during this time then we strongly advise that you arrange SAAP protection. Outside of these periods, some people recommend carefully planning where you go based on the weather and organising your daily activities to avoid any difficult conditions. However, this is a risky approach as the unpredictable nature of Iceland’s weather can catch many people out.

If you err on the side of caution, we would recommend taking out SAAP all year round. This will ensure that you are covered should there be any unexpected storms – it’s better to be safe than sorry, or as they say in Iceland “betra að vera öruggur en hryggur”.

What does SAAP actually cover?

As with all insurance, the coverage varies depending on the company, so it’s worth talking through your policy and all of the terms and conditions with your provider.

If you require any further assistance in regards to Sand and Ash Protection and are looking to take up this protection, we can help. We offer SAAP on all of our vehicles, from 4x4, passenger cars and campers. We can also provide you with information on which vehicle would be best suited for you. So please don’t hesitate if you have any questions regarding your trip or planned trip to Iceland. Get in touch with our brilliant team today; they’ll be more than happy to help in any way they can. You can contact our office on +354 511 3111 or

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