People Who Live Near Grocery Stores Face Greater Risk of Car Accidents: Study

SAN FRANCISCO -- A study released this week by predictive analytics company Quality Planning Corp. (QPC) here has found that people who live within a mile of a grocery store have an 26 percent higher risk of being in an auto accident, and thus pay higher insurance rates -- second only to those living within a mile of a restaurant, who have a 30 percent higher risk of being in a car crash.

The study looked at over 15 million policyholders and 2 million claims, mapping the closeness of vehicle owners' addresses to various types of businesses. Aside from restaurants and grocery stores, the riskiest places to live near are schools (26 percent higher risk), banks (25 percent) and car dealers (23 percent), according to the study; while people who live within one mile of a racetrack (11 percent), forest (4 percent), park (3 percent), or airport (2 percent) are much less likely to sustain vehicle damage. Churches are safest places to live near, with those residing within a mile of a religious institution being 10 percent less likely to have an accident resulting in a property damage claim.

Dr. Daniel Finnegan, founder and CEO of QPC, said in a statement: "It's well known that auto insurers use a policyholder's ZIP code to calculate the risk he or she represents. New technology enables us to be even more accurate in determining the level of risk associated with a policy by identifying the specific risk factors associated with that policyholder's home address."

"It's important to remember that these observations are indicative of the area and we would naturally expect higher accident rates in higher-traffic areas," added QPC v.p. of marketing Bob U'Ren. "Traffic patterns and density are often key considerations when selecting sites for restaurants and grocery stores. There are also comparatively fewer homes and apartments, and generally lower vehicle use, close to parks and forests. But who would have thought it is more dangerous to live by an elementary school than a liquor store (18 percent greater risk)? Or a bank vs. a hotel (5 percent)?"

QPC periodically issues snapshots and analyses of auto insurance data to raise awareness of the factors that determine what consumers pay for auto insurance.
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