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Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby Txhiker42 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:54 pm

What do most flatlanders do when they rent a car at the Denver airport and want to take it on an "unpaved road" to a trailhead? From what I've read, driving on unpaved roads is excluded in all most (if not all) rental contracts. Should I just go for it and hope for the best? I was planning on buying the LDW from the company but I've read that any violation of the rental agreement voids the LDW. Same thing with the coverage you get with AMEX or another credit card. Has anyone had experience with damage to a rental on a road to a trailhead and could share what happened? Are any companies better than the others in looking the way? I usually go with Enterprise.

Specifically, we are hoping the access the Gray's trailhead in mid-September.

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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby sad2 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:00 pm

Txhiker42 wrote:What do most flatlanders do when they rent a car at the Denver airport and want to take it on an "unpaved road" to a trailhead? From what I've read, driving on unpaved roads is excluded in all most (if not all) rental contracts. Should I just go for it and hope for the best? I was planning on buying the LDW from the company but I've read that any violation of the rental agreement voids the LDW. Same thing with the coverage you get with AMEX or another credit card. Has anyone had experience with damage to a rental on a road to a trailhead and could share what happened? Are any companies better than the others in looking the way? I usually go with Enterprise.

Specifically, we are hoping the access the Gray's trailhead in mid-September.


When I lived in NC and visited CO, I rented a Grand Cherokee at DIA and took it up the Grays/Torreys TH. Not a problem. You should be fine. Now, I would not recommend taking it to some of the other THs, like Lake Como or even up Castle/Conundrum, but for G/T, you should be fine.

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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby denvermikey » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:13 pm

Just get an SUV with halfway decent clearance and you should be just fine. There have been Civics, Prius's (Prii?), and all sorts of sedans at the TH before.
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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby Voodoo302 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:29 pm

My parents rented a mid-size sedan last year and we took it up the G/T road. They didn't have any issues with the rental company buuuut then again they didn't damage the car (other than some scrapes underneath that I assume went unnoticed). "Caveat auriga" I guess. An SUV is probably a safer bet.

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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby TravelingMatt » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:31 pm

About all a rental agency can do if you go on a dirt road is deny an LDW claim. So don't buy it, it's worthless for what you want to do anyway!

Before I moved here I rented SUVs and drove them up 4x4 roads all the time. Engineer Pass, upper South Colony (the part that's now closed), the road up to Antero. I took a Sebring convertible most of the way to American Basin. I hit a deer once, buffed it out, they never caught it.

Do you want to live your life the way Hertz tells you to, or the way YOU want to?
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby scalba123 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:33 pm

I've rented SUVs from Hertz and never had a problem with the company. Of course I treat it like my own vehicle and don't attempt anything crazy.

Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby MonGoose » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:17 pm

Just keep the shiny side up and they'll never know.

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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby Tory Wells » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:19 pm

Train harder? Many people start Grays and Torreys from I-70, choosing to hike the road instead of driving it. Doing so adds 6 miles roundtrip.

Another option is hitchhiking. Hikers are generally generous and helpful folk, and most would be willing to give you a ride up and down.
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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby speth » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:47 pm

Drive it like you stole it.

Then return it.
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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby CO Native » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:04 pm

get that insurance that the rental companies claim all you have to do is return the license plate and it's covered. Then drive it up Lake Como road and let us all know if they actually honor that claim.
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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:23 pm

I suggest a Fiat 500.
I need more dehydrogenase.

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Re: Rental car "unpaved road" exclusions...what to do?

Postby crossfitter » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:32 pm

Last fall we were behind Surf 'N Turf's friend in an audi on the way into Sneffles (on the 2wd section before it gets rougher). They managed to run over a lone fist-sized rock which kicked up, punctured their oil pan and they had to get an off-road tow plus be towed all the way back to Denver to the nearest dealership. It's a pretty freak accident but weird s**t can happen.
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