When it comes to annuities, smoking can be good for pensioners' finances, according to Fair Investment Company.
Pensioners who smoke or have other health or lifestyle conditions could get up to 40 per cent more for their annuity, Fair Investment Company has said.
Ill health can enhance annuity rates by up to 40 per cent, but many pension providers do not ask about customers' ill health, meaning that many annuity holders could be missing out on an enhanced income.
The financial services provider is urging annuity holders who have not declared any health or lifestyle issues which could increase their annuity to do so, because they could get significantly more.
George Ladds, head of investment and pension research at Fair Investment Company, said: "If you smoke, suffer any medical conditions or take any prescribed medication you could get enhanced annuities. But most pension providers do not make this clear, meaning pensioners could be losing out on thousands of pounds."
Mr Ladds said that as many as a third of people could get a better annuity rate if they declared their lifestyle circumstances or ill health, but few actually do.
When pensioners buy their annuity, an estimated 60 per cent accept the quote offered to them by their pension provider, without shopping around to compare annuity quotes from other providers to see if they could get a better deal elsewhere, says Fair Investment Company.
For example, someone with diabetes, a replaced heart valve, and high blood pressure could get 39 per cent more, while someone who smokes 20 a day but has no other health issues can get 18 per cent more.
"Many pensioners are unaware they can get better rates by shopping around, but even more are unaware that declaring health issues or lifestyle conditions could improve their quotes even further," said Mr Ladds, adding, "the 'ill health' doesn't even need to be that serious to qualify for enhanced annuities. Smokers, those with high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol and even those who are simply overweight could benefit."
© Fair Investment Company Ltd
Click here to get annuity quotes and see how much you can get »