Saddle Road confusion

Old Mar 8th, 2012, 06:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 238
Saddle Road confusion

We just got back from Hawaii and drove from one end of Saddle Road to the other end and it is just fine. We had a Budget rental car and they said as long as you do not go on a dirt road you are covered. The Saddle road has NO dirt road sections. You would have to leave the saddle road to go on a dirt road.
We got on the Saddle Road where it starts just south of Waimea and drove to the road to Mauna Kea where we turned off and drove up to the Visitors Centre at 9000 feet and there was no dirt road. I asked staff at the center about dirt road ahead and they said yes there is some dirt road between there and the top at 13000 feet so we did not go past there. They do not stop you from going. It is your choice but just remember that at least with Budget Car Rental if you do get in any sort of an accident on the dirt road or likely beyond it you will not be covered because you have broke the contract by driving on the dirt road. When we left the Visitors Centre we came back down to the Saddle Road and turned left and drove on it to Hilo so we were from one end to the other and there was no dirt road and the road is fine. There is no reason not to go to the visitors centre from either Hilo or the Kona side. From there it is your choice. I chose not to because I did not want to chance either hitting another vechicle or them hitting me and me not being insured.
warrsher is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 07:04 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 16,753
This is pretty well known; where was your confusion? (The road to the top, past the MK visitor's center, can also be done, but better not to without 4WD.)
Your cc insurance (that used to rent the car) is what usually "covers" you, not the rental car company.
sylvia3 is online now  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 07:06 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 27,867
I believe there are still some rental contracts that specify that driving on the Saddle Road voids the contract. We rented from Enterprise and drove from Hilo to the west side of the island; we also went up to Visitor's Center. No problems [except for 2 BIG dead pigs on the road!].

We were told that IF something happened on the Saddle Road, they would not cover towing or anything else. And if your contract was voided, you usual car insurance won't cover you either.

Lastly, the other reason that you don't want to drive a car to the very top of Mauna Kea is that the road has a 26% grade and that without 4 wheel drive it would be quite a task. Also, if you don't know how to drive DOWN a road [that has stretches of gravel and dirt] you can easily BURN out your BRAKES. [You must have seen the gallon jugs of BRAKE FLUID in the Visitor's Center?] Oh, the altitude up there at 13,000 ft + makes breathing tricky too.
DebitNM is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 238
Sorry Sylvia. I was not confused but had read some posts on Hawaii forums where there was some confusion. Just trying to help. Also some CC insurance companies cover the damage but the fact that the rental car is out of revenue for lets say 1 week for repairs that they would not cover the rental companies lost revenue so the renter may have to cover that.
Please just take my post for what it was meant.
warrsher is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 490
I think there was some confusion. Thanks to the OP.
DanM is offline  
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