Say you’ve woken up only to find that your car’s windscreen has been shattered. What do you do? It’s clear that the problem needs to be dealt with immediately, since driving with an impaired windscreen can be illegal in the UK and lead to citations, not to mention the safety hazards involved.
The good news is that most motorists with comprehensive motor insurance can simply ring their insurance provider and request assistance. The bad news is that most insurance providers in the UK have one or two preferred repairers; often big national brands that provide windscreen repair and windscreen replacement services at (often) unreasonable prices.
No bother, your claim will cover the charge, right? That may be, but your insurance is likely to go up, and you’ll almost always have to pay an excess on your claim. Moreover, the quality and responsiveness of the work may be lacking.
To make matters worse, if you’ve only got a third party (minimum) insurance policy, you may not have windscreen cover at all and may need to pay out of pocket. Don’t despair! That’s where small, independent automotive glaziers fill a much-needed gap.
Nowadays, most motorists in the UK can simply open up their web browser and search for “windscreen repair near me” and find dozens of auto glaziers in a matter of seconds. Not all automotive glass technicians are alike, however. Below are five key traits to look for in a vehicle glazier:
1. Skills and qualifications
As a customer, one of the most important traits to look for in an automotive glazier is the peace of mind knowing that your windscreen or automotive glass has been repaired or replaced professionally, in accordance with industry-approved standards.
In the UK, the seal of approval within the automotive glazing industry is the professional accreditation under The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) and, in England, NVQ certificates in automotive glazing by GQA Qualifications.
A qualified and accredited automotive glass technician won’t be afraid to advertise their qualifications on their webpage and will be happy to let you know over the phone. Accreditation is the bare minimum, however, since a quality automotive glazier must also have the requisite skills to ensure the workmanship is of sufficient quality.
2. Mobile call-out services
What’s the point of calling an auto glazier to have your windscreen repaired or replaced if you can’t even safely drive it to their workshop? Always choose technicians that provides mobile call-out services to your vehicle’s location, and preferably one with fair appointment times so that you can get back on the road safely in short order.
When sorting through various automotive glaziers, make sure they provide coverage in your postcode. The big national brands can come out to you anywhere in the UK whereas a local, independent glazier may only serve towns/cities within a given radius, like perhaps 10-30 miles.
This is a disadvantage of small, local glaziers, but myWindscreen makes it quick and easy to find reputable technicians in your postcode, anywhere in the UK.
3. Brilliant reputation
This extends beyond automotive glazing, but it truly needs to be said. An excellent reputation is a requirement for any service-based business that wants to remain competitive. Today, it’s easy to read comments and reviews of businesses online through Google Reviews, Facebook, and other social media.
myWindscreen makes it easy and transparent for users to post legitimate, genuine reviews of car and van glaziers that can help future customers make more conscious choices as well as providing useful, constructive feedback. No made-up testimonials, no fake reviews!
4. Industry experience
Experience is a major differentiating factor when deciding on one automotive glazier over another. With sufficient experience, the technician will have little difficulty ensuring that your automotive glass is repaired or replaced just like new with little to no delay. Typically, more experience also means that the glazier has developed a superb reputation as well.
Quite often, apprentice automotive glass technicians work for the big national brands during their apprenticeship and perhaps for a few years after obtaining their qualifications. Many of these apprentices later go on to form their own businesses as independent, local glazing shops, so often they have decades of experience and unrivalled skill in their craft.
5. Small, local, independent automotive glaziers
Surely you’ve noticed a trend thus far – small, local, independent auto glaziers are the way to go. Most of the time, they beat the big national brands in terms of price, speed of service, quality of workmanship, and reliability. Whilst they lack the national coverage and perhaps aren’t always on-call 24/7 (but many are), they make up for these weaknesses by providing their customers with excellent services.
What many motorists may be worried about is whether or not a small automotive glazing company can help them with insurance paperwork. Most insurance providers want you to go with their preferred repairer, but you don’t have to. The good news is that many of the businesses listed here on myWindscreen will help you file your claim on your behalf. Even with higher excesses on your claim, the total cost of repairs or replacements performed by small glaziers often beat out the competition by a country mile.
Find reputable automotive glass technicians near you
How do you know you can trust an auto glazier near you? On myWindscreen, every single business listed has been thoroughly vetted and approved for quality, customer service, and reliability. Find the best automotive glass technicians in your postcode, anywhere in the UK, by clicking on the ‘GET QUOTES’ tab above.