Heartbreak can mean a lot of things: insomnia, wine, chocolate, ice cream, comfy pajamas and… Jolly Ranchers?
It appears that the lovelorn misery of olden days is long gone because today, heartbreak takes a more creative, albeit destructive turn. It appears that for some, recovering from heartbreak is as simple as some Jolly Ranchers and a little destruction of property. What started as an Internet prank turned into a viral punishment issued down from the inconsolable and desolate.
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“Essentially, the concept of ‘Jolly Rancher’ is waiting until winter, buying a pack of jolly ranchers, licking them, and sticking them to someone’s windshield,” explains Daniel Carter, founder of ZippyElectrics and self-described electric ride enthusiast. “The frozen temperature outside makes your windshield a lot more brittle than it usually is. This temperature also makes it extremely difficult to remove the stuck jolly ranchers and, if forced, will break your entire windshield.”
“The Jolly Rancher works like an adhesive as it dries and fixes itself to the window. It would be like gluing an object to the window and then removing it,” describes Chane Steiner, financial expert and CEO of personal finance site Crediful. “So much pressure is built from pulling it off that the glass tries to come with it, causing cracks or completely smashed windows.”
No one wants a broken window or windshield, especially when you are already adapting to a major life change. The situation could be made even worse if insurance doesn’t step up to cover the expenses.
So, is “Jolly-Ranchering” actually a thing, and will your car insurance cover the damages if it happens to you? We investigate.
How Common Is Jolly Rancher Revenge?
“Is it common to see car windows broken by Jolly Ranchers? Is it an urban legend?” muses insurance expert Melanie Musson. “Jolly Ranchers are far from a common cause for broken windows. In fact, there’s not a clear consensus on whether they’re able to break a car window or not.”
Steiner is more familiar with the concept – and its purpose. He says, “It happens a lot when couples break up, as one wants to cause damage to the other.”
“Those who do it are usually those wanting to get back at someone and get away with it,” says David Baddeley, Director of Trust Deed Scotland. “It happens often, as it is a kind of discrete form of vandalism.”
Ethan Taub, CEO of Loanry, is familiar with the origins of Jolly-Ranchering. “While this is a new trick people have found out about, I do not believe a lot of people are trying it out with how many unsuccessful attempts there are to see online,” he comments. “That is not saying it does not happen, though. As we all know many things are tried over the years, and trends make a comeback.”
Does Car Insurance Cover Damage From Jolly Ranchers?
In the Digital Age, something can go viral in an instant. Nothing ever truly dies on the Internet, so there’s always the chance that Jolly Ranchers could play a starring role in your next breakup.
While it could (and perhaps, should) affect the way you cut ties with your former amore, you may also want to give your auto insurance policy a quick check for coverage against the sugary confections.
“If by chance, your window did break and this was done by some sort of candy-themed villain, it is technically vandalism, which is protected under comprehensive coverage,” explains Sarah George, an insurance journalist. “If you were just trying to myth-bust though and did it yourself, then no, insurance will not cover your random sugar-themed experiment.”
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“Where there’s a blame, there’s a claim,” notes Emily Deaton, a financial journalist at Let Me Bank. “If you can prove that there has been damage to the car, you should have no problem getting insurance to pay out for this. It will not matter whether the screen breaks or not; the intention was there, and if the candy does cause any damage, you will need to have it fixed.”
“A lot of people would say that the insurance will not pay out for a piece of candy,” Deaton continues, “but if it causes damage in any way that is not your fault, they have to.’”
However, the good news is that this appears to be a more seasonal risk.
“It doesn’t happen outside of winter, as this ’prank’ depends on frozen temperatures for it to work,” says Carter.
What Kind of Car Insurance Do You Need?
Your car insurance coverage will determine what is covered when you have window or windshield damage.
“If you don’t have comprehensive insurance coverage, your insurance won’t cover the cost of the broken window,” says Musson. “If you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you can file a claim for a broken window that happens as a result of vandalism. It doesn’t really matter the exact methods used. A vandal could hit your window with a sledgehammer, or he could use a jolly rancher. It doesn’t really matter the technique.”
“If your car insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage, you may have coverage for replacing your window,” says insurance expert Alice Stevens. “Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car that doesn’t result from a collision. For example, comprehensive coverage includes things like if your car is damaged in a storm and vandalism.”
That doesn’t mean that you don’t have some choices to make.
“Keep in mind that comprehensive coverage is optional unless you’re financing a car and your lender requires it. If you know the person who vandalized your car, you can have that person’s liability insurance cover your repairs. Your car insurance company can help with this process,” says George.
Taub notes that insurance companies are already aware of this new spin on revenge. “This small trick is a very grey area in the eyes of the insurance companies. If the car is damaged by a third party and the window does smash, you should, in theory, get a payout from your insurance because of it.”
However, don’t think that you can take advantage of the situation. “If they just stick the jolly rancher to your car and it causes no damage, it may be a hard case to bring to court with you. If there is damage to the screen, you will get a payout. If you just have candy stuck to your car, it is probably a no, much like getting gum on your car would be a no.”
Cater adds, “This type of ‘prank’ happens often enough that most car insurance companies, such as Allstate and GEICO, are including a full windshield replacement as a part of their insurance coverage.”
How Much Will Jolly Rancher-Damage to My Car Cost?
“Some states require insurance companies to cover windshield replacement without a deductible, and some insurance plans waive the deductible for glass replacement, but in the majority of cases, the deductible will apply,” says Steven.
However, it may not always make sense to file that claim.
“If someone broke a $400 piece of glass and your deductible is $500, there would be no point in filing a claim,” describes Musson.
Stevens echoes that sentiment. “Keep your deductible level in mind,” she says. “It may be that it’s covered under your policy, but your deductible is high enough that no coverage for the replacement or repair would come from your insurer.
The rules can vary by state, too, and it can make a real difference in how much you pay.
“Some states require the deductible to be waived for safety glass claims,” explains Musson. “Some insurers may not cover windows under comprehensive coverage. Instead, they offer separate glass coverage. This coverage is specifically for your car’s windows. Depending on the policy and the service you need, you may not have a deductible. This is typically for the less expensive repairs. Full replacements will likely require some out-of-pocket contribution from you.”
Deaton recommends that drivers be proactive about vehicle safety. “What might be helpful is to have a camera on your car when you are not around,” she suggests. “If you park your car at night, put a camera on it so you can see who approaches it. That way, you will be able to know who caused the damage.”
The Bottom Line
The concept of “Jolly Ranchering” may sound ridiculous and foreign, but for some nursing a broken heart, they have to discover at the worst time that this prank is very real. Thankfully, if you have comprehensive car insurance or supplemental glass coverage, your car’s windows and windshield could be safe for repair.
Musson leaves us with a final word of warning. “If you walk up to your vehicle and see that there’s a hard candy stuck to the window, err on the side of caution, and use water to soften the sugar so that it falls off easily,” she says. “You don’t want to be the one to prove that the legend is true.
Photo by Phil Faraone/MRTV1415 / GettyImages