Snoring may get you a higher pensionApnoea can qualify for higher annuity rates

04 October 2012

A double bed

If you snore because of sleep apnoea, you may qualify for a higher annuity rate when you convert your pension fund into an income.

Other medical and lifestyle conditions also merit an increase in the pension income you're offered when you come to buy an annuity. 

Higher annuity rates

If you belong to a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, you will probably buy an annuity to provide your pension income when you retire. Rather than accepting the annuity offer made by your pension scheme provider, you can shop around for the best rate, comparing annuities from a number of providers. This is known as the open market option (OMO). 

Standard annuity rates may differ by as much as 10% but people with adverse medical or lifestyle conditions may get an additional boost to their pension income if they buy an enhanced annuity

A spokesman for retirement income specialist MGM Advantage, Andrew Tully, said: 'Enhanced annuities take into consideration a wide range of medical and lifestyle conditions. Unusual conditions with subtle symptoms like snoring are eligible, as are far more common conditions like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. 

'It really does pay to make your adviser or pension provider aware of any medical or lifestyle condition you may have. The difference between the worst conventional annuity rate and best enhanced annuity rate can be as much as 48%, which could make a huge difference to your retirement finances.'    

Maximise your pension income

At a time when annuity rates are low, it is more important than ever for those about to retire to maximise their pension income by shopping around. Not all annuity providers offer enhanced rates, so it's crucial to look at those that do if you think you may qualify. 

Some enhanced annuity providers are well known names, such as Canada Life, Legal & General, LV=, Aviva and Prudential. Others are more niche firms, such as MGM Advantage, Just Retirement and Partnership.

Which? pension expert, Ian Robinson said: 'Shopping around is well worth the effort. An annuity broker can help you search the market and get the best deal. Relatively minor conditions can qualify for higher rates. Disclosure is a positive advantage for those in the annuity market, who may meet a provider's criteria without being aware of it.'

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