Safelite Vs. Gerber Collision & Glass: How To Choose The Right Auto Glass Repair Shop

Dealing with a cracked or damaged windshield is never pleasant. Safelite and Gerber Collision & Glass rank among the leading auto glass repair and replacement chains in America.

But is one a better choice over the other? This comprehensive guide examines the pros, cons, and key differences between Safelite and Gerber to help you make an informed decision.

A Brief Comparison Table

CategorySafeliteGerber Collision & Glass
Company BackgroundFounded in 1947, 400+ locationsFounded in 1937, 300+ locations
Services OfferedWindshield repair/replacement, side/rear/sunroof repair, headlight restorationWindshield repair/replacement, side/rear/chip repair, headlight restoration
Technician Certification140+ hours initial training, ongoing certificationExtensive initial training, AGSC certification exam
Brand ReputationMixed reviews, 3 star averageVery positive reviews, 4+ star average
Appointment SchedulingOnline/phone, complaints of delaysOnline/phone, quick appointments
Pricing~$220 average windshield replacement~$125 average windshield replacement
Mobile RepairLarge national fleet, guaranteed availabilityOffered in most markets, not guaranteed
Insurance ExpertiseDirect billing, simplified claims processDirect billing, simplified claims process

Company Overviews

First, let’s look at some background on each auto glass company.

Safelite Auto Glass Repair
Safelite Auto Glass Repair

Safelite got its start in 1947 under the name Safelite Glass Corporation. They provide repair and replacement of windshields, side windows, rear windows, and sunroofs. Some quick facts about Safelite:

  • Headquartered in Columbus, OH
  • Operates over 400 repair facilities in 50 states
  • Offers mobile service fleet for repairs on-site
  • Over 15,000 employees
  • 07 billion in annual revenue

Gerber Collision & Glass was founded in 1937 as a family-owned car collision repair shop. They expanded into auto glass services and began franchise operations in 1982. Background on Gerber:

  • Headquartered in Chicago, IL
  • 300+ locations across 25 states
  • Both franchised and company-owned centers
  • Specializes in insurance claim processing
  • $1.5 billion in annual systemwide sales

Both companies have been fixtures in the auto glass industry for decades and share nationwide reach. Safelite maintains company ownership of all centers, while Gerber operates a franchise model.

Also Read: Comparison Between Caliber Collision And Gerber Collision

Key Differences Between Safelite And Gerber Collision & Glass

  • Services Offered

The services provided are another important differentiator.

Safelite offers windshield repair, windshield replacement, side window repair, rear window repair, sunroof repair, and headlight restoration services. For windshield replacement, they work with all major insurers to process claims seamlessly.

Gerber provides windshield repair, windshield replacement, side glass repair, back glass repair, chip repair, and headlight restoration. They also advertise expertise in handling insurance claims from start to finish.

When it comes to services, Gerber and Safelite are matched almost identically in their offerings. Both provide the full spectrum of auto glass repair work policyholders may require.

Technician Training & Certification

You want auto glass technicians working on your car to be highly trained and certified.

Gerber Collision

Safelite requires all technicians to complete over 140 hours of hands-on training before performing repairs independently. Training covers proper repair procedures, customer service, and insurance claims processing. Technicians must pass ongoing certification testing to remain current.

Gerber also puts technicians through extensive skills training before allowing them to work on customer vehicles. Their certification process involves preparing for and passing an exam administered by the Auto Glass Safety Council. Continuing education is mandatory.

Again, this category results in a draw. Both Safelite and Gerber ensure technicians demonstrate proficiency through training programs and certification testing.

  • Brand Reputation & Reviews

Third-party ratings and reviews offer insights into quality and customer satisfaction.

Safelite earns mixed feedback. Positive reviews praise their quick mobile service and insurance claim expertise. But complaints cite issues like sloppy adhesive application, leaking windshields, and damaged vehicle interiors. Their rating averages around 3 stars.

Gerber garners consistently high reviews for knowledgeable technicians and top-notch workmanship. Customers mention a cleaner process with damage-free results. Negative feedback is less common. Gerber averages a 4+ star rating.

Review analysis gives Gerber the edge for service quality and customer satisfaction. Safelite generates more frequent complaints stemming from lackluster work.

  • Appointment Scheduling

The appointment booking process also merits comparison.

Safelite offers online scheduling or phone-based booking. Appointments can be made for the shop or mobile on-site service. However, some customers complain of delays between booking and service delivery.

Gerber also provides online or phone scheduling options. Reviewers tend to praise quick and convenient appointment times within 1-3 days. Less feedback cites scheduling hassles.

Gerber appears to hold the advantage when it comes to smoothly booking repair appointments within a reasonable timeframe.

  • Pricing & Cost

Of course, pricing often factors heavily into shop selection.

Safelite offers free windshield repair with insurance. For uninsured customers, windshield replacement costs ~$220 on average based on model. Additional services come at added cost.

Gerber provides free chip repairs for insured clients and charges ~$125 average for windshield replacement without insurance. Their prices run cheaper than Safelite.

Gerber stands out for more affordable auto glass rates, especially for uninsured repairs. They seem to offer better value overall.

  • Mobile Repair

The ability to offer mobile service at home or work is a major perk.

Safelite touts their national fleet of mobile repair vans. Technicians can perform windshield replacements and minor repairs on-site. This provides convenience for customers.

Gerber also advertises mobile repair service in most markets. Customers can book an appointment wherever their vehicle is located. However, mobile availability is not guaranteed in all areas.

When it comes to mobile convenience, Safelite appears to have the leg up with their expansive national fleet and guaranteed availability.

  • Insurance Claims Expertise

Many windshield repairs involve insurance claims, so hassle-free processing is key.

Safelite promotes their insurance connections and claims expertise. As a provider for most major carriers, they can handle the entire claims process quickly. Customer feedback confirms an easy insurance experience.

Likewise, Gerber advertises streamlined insurance claim management as a strength. Their insurance partnerships facilitate direct billing and paperwork handling. Reviews verify positive experiences with insurance claims through Gerber.

It’s another draw here – both Safelite and Gerber receive kudos for simplifying the insurance claim process on auto glass repair and replacement projects.

Also Read: Comparison Between Maaco And Caliber Collision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best alternative to Safelite?

Based on service ratings, affordability, and customer reviews, Gerber Collision & Glass stands out as one of the top alternatives to Safelite for auto glass repair and replacement. Other reputable options include GlasPro and Auto Glass Now.

Does Safelite manufacture their own windshields?

No, Safelite does not manufacture their own windshields. They purchase replacement windshields from various major OEM parts suppliers like PGW and Fuyao. This allows them to offer both OEM and aftermarket windshield options.

What is the best type of windshield?

OEM glass made by your vehicle’s original manufacturer tends to be the highest quality windshield option. OEM glass meets the factory specifications for fit, clarity, and features. The trade-off is higher cost. Many opt for aftermarket windshields that are more affordable but may not match OEM standards.

How do I know if my windshield is original?

Check for an etched brand logo in the corner of the windshield to confirm it is OEM from your vehicle manufacturer. Another giveaway is a stripe running along the edges that denotes factory glass. Missing branding or the telltale stripe means the windshield has likely been replaced.

Also Read: Is AutoZone Better Than Advance Auto Parts?

Final Recommendation

In summary, Safelite and Gerber offer comparable services and insurance expertise. However, Gerber pulls ahead in terms of pricing, customer satisfaction, appointment availability, and service quality ratings. While you can’t go wrong with either, Gerber Collision & Glass gets my recommendation as the superior auto glass repair provider based on the criteria analyzed. But consult reviews and costs in your local area to decide which shop best fits your needs.

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