Unpaved roads with a rental car

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The contract of a rental car always states that it is not allowed to drive on unpaved roads. But some places can only be reached by an unpaved road. Should you skip these places on your trip? We looked into it for you.

We sent an email to 2 of the largest rental companies, Alamo and Avis, to ask if we could drive their rental car on well maintained, unpaved roads. We gave them 3 places we would like to visit that are only accessible via an unpaved road:

  • Bodie State Historic Park
  • Palouse Falls State Park
  • The Moki Dugway

Alamo was the first to respond. They told us Alamo can’t let you drive the car on unpaved roads because when there is a car failure, the tow truck will only tow the car up to maximum 30m from a paved road. According to Alamo we should skip these places during our trip.

Avis let us know that it’s not allowed to drive on unpaved roads because if there is damage to the tires, all costs are for the renter. So also with a car from Avis we can’t visit the places on our list.

Even though no rental company allows it, you see a lot of rental cars on unpaved roads. At Amerika Reis we also did it many times. As long as you stay on well maintained roads, the risk is very low. The roads to state parks are mostly well maintained. But our advise is: if you’re not comfortable with it, don’t do it.

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