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Our guide to annuities

This is our guide to buying an annuity and we recommend you read this to understand your options at retirement so you are fully aware of the choices available to you.

Download our guide to annuities here


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Welcome to the Online Annuity Planner

We aim to get you a better deal by helping you shop around for an annuity income.

Important pension changes announced in the March 2014 Budget – please read the summary below.

1) From 27th March 2014 if you are aged 60 or over, and the total value of all of your pensions is under £30,000, you can withdraw all or part of your pension as a cash lump sum (subject to certain tax deductions) providing you do so within 12 months of taking the first cash lump sum payment.

You may also be able to take up to 3 small pension funds worth under £10,000 each, as a cash lump sum (subject to certain tax deductions). Your scheme administrator will be able to confirm this.

2) It is proposed that from 6th April 2015 if you are aged 55 or over you may be able to take all your pension as a cash lump sum. You may take up to 25% of your pension as tax free cash, but any remaining pension taken as a cash lump sum will be taxed at your marginal rate of tax (though the tax treatment will depend on your individual circumstance and may be subject to change).

For more details either click on this link for the treasury summary of budget changes or if you have any queries please contact us on the telephone number above.

Therefore these changes bring an additional choice for your retirement plans. This website is designed to help compare annuities which are a type of investment that provides a guaranteed income for the rest of your retirement. To continue please read the important information in each section below then click “Start”.

  • The annuity comparison service is provided by Premier Retirement Services.
  • We compare “live” online quotes from a panel of annuity providers.
  • We provide annuity quotes for pensions with a total value between £2,000 and £500,000.  If you have a large pension please consider taking financial advice.
  • No financial advice is provided, so you need to be comfortable that you make informed decisions. If you need advice call us - we can help you find a financial adviser.
  • The costs for supporting this service - including our quote helpdesk, your own case handler as well as payment to Confused.com - are met by a commission paid to us by your chosen annuity provider (between 1% - 3% of the amount used to purchase your annuity). 
  • Commission is reflected in your quotes and the exact amount will be shown in your application pack, prior to your decision to go ahead.
  • If at any point you are unhappy with the service and wish to make a complaint, you can contact us at the number at the top of this page – where will do our utmost to make amends.
  • The services provided are covered by both the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), however, there are circumstances when FOS cover is not available and there are restrictions to the protections provided by FSCS – see more in the Key Facts.
  • It is important to take the time to shop around and compare your options, because you don’t have to take the annuity offered by your pension provider and you may be able to obtain a higher annuity income than the one offered by your pension provider.
  • We also compare enhanced annuities that take into account your medical / lifestyle history.  These may provide a higher annuity income though in certain circumstances some providers may request a medical assessment.
  • As the decision to purchase an annuity is final, you need to carefully consider all the available options to ensure that your decisions fit with your overall financial circumstances and your plans for retirement, both now and in later years.
  • Of the 13 annuity providers available we currently obtain quotes from 7.  We compare rates from Aviva, Canada Life, Just Retirement, Legal & General, LV=, Prudential and Standard Life.
  • We are aiming to move our Annuity Service to include all providers to ensure the widest choice for our customers to secure the best income.  We continue to review our service to secure quotes from providers who make their quotes available via our site.
  • Your annuity income will depend on how much you have saved into your pension(s) - the more you have, the higher your income could be.  Your pension pots can then be combined to provide an income for life – we help you compare providers rates for these.
  • There are other products available to you such as income drawdown or investment linked annuities – we don’t offer these but they are explained in our guide - or you may decide to delay and defer your pension income.
  • Be sure to check to see if your pension contains a guaranteed annuity rate - it may mean your pension is linked to a better annuity rate than is available from other providers.
  • You are able to choose options as part of your annuity purchase which will reduce your initial income but could provide additional valuable benefits - you need to consider these options to ensure that your decisions fit with your overall financial circumstances and retirement plans.
  • When you die your annuity income will stop, unless you provide for someone else – using options such as a dependant's pension or guarantee period.  Without these options added, any surviving partner would receive nothing.
  • With a basic annuity your income will be a fixed amount that may be reduced over time in real terms by inflation.  You can choose an option to increase your annuity payments each year, protecting yourself from some of the inflation impact, though this will reduce your initial income.
  • Not all annuity options are compared on our online service (for example Value Protection – see our guide for more information).

Step 1. Your pension

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Please select your title.

Please select your gender.

Please enter your first name.

Please enter your last name.

Please enter a valid email address.

Please enter a valid telephone number.

Your date of birth is used by annuity providers when deciding how much income they will offer you.

Please note that you normally need to be 55 or over to be able to take your pension. In certain circumstances you may be able to take your pension before then. If you believe this is the case then please call us.

Please enter a valid date of birth.

You normally need to be 55 or over to be able take your pension. In certain circumstances you may be able to take your pension before then - if you believe this is the case then please call us.

This is the date you would like your annuity income to start from. If you are unsure then please enter "immediately" - you can always change your decision before making an application.

Please select when you wish to start taking your pension - you cannot choose a date in the past.

If you are unsure then please enter "immediately" - you can always change your decision before making an application.


Please select when you wish to start taking your pension - you cannot choose a date in the past.

If you are unsure then please enter "immediately" - you can always change your decision before making an application.

This is the total value of all your personal pension funds you wish to use. This can normally be found on letters from your pension provider which detail the retirement benefits they are offering you.

If you have pension funds that total less than £18,000 you may be able to take them as a cash lump sum. Please read the section about smaller pension funds in our guide.

This online service can only provide quotes for pensions with a total value of between £2,667 and £500,000. If the value of all your pension's is more than £500,000 then please call us for a quote.

You can combine pension funds when obtaining an annuity income. This is the total value of all the personal pension funds you wish to use.

Please read and agree to the terms of the service in order to continue.

Step 2. Tax free cash

You can usually take up to 25% of your pension as a one off payment, free of tax, when you convert your pension fund into an income (though the tax treatment will depend on your individual circumstance and may be subject to change).

Choose how much you wish to take, then use the recalculate button on the right to see the impact on your indicative annuity value.

If you are happy with your selection click the next button.

Your current pension provider may refer to your tax free cash entitlement as a 'Pension Commencement Lump Sum'.

After you take your chosen level of tax-free cash, the remainder of your pension fund is then used to buy an annuity to provide your retirement income. It is important to work out how much of your fund that you can afford to take as cash. The more you take, the less money will be left for you to purchase your annuity income.

You are normally only permitted to take a maximum of 25% of your fund as tax-free cash (fdgdf). However, under special circumstances, you may be entitled to more. Your current pension provider can tell you how much you are entitled to.

Your annuity will be treated as taxable income - so you need to allow for this in your calculations.

Some older types of pension, or occupational schemes, will entitle you to more than 25% tax-free cash, or are restricted to less. If your paperwork indicates that this is the case, please call us to discuss or email us using the "get in touch" form.

Once you have received your tax-free cash, you cannot change your mind.

 

Please select an amount of tax free cash to continue.

Step 3. A bit about you

Did you know that you or your spouse/dependant's condition of health or lifestyle might significantly increase your annuity income?

Please complete the following questions to help make your indicative annuity value more accurate.

For clarification you need to have been a consistent, daily, smoker for over 10 years - if you have recently given up then enter "No".

What you enter here just gives an indication so don't worry if you are not sure - we will ask for your height and weight later so that when you obtain your actual quotes they will be accurate and personal to you.

Annuity providers consider your body mass index(BMI) when determining rates so this is why we ask and we will adjust your indicative income to reflect this.

Providers will consider your blood pressure as part of your overall health when calculating annuity quotations

This includes being prescribed medication for any condition.

Step 4. Shape your annuity

Next you can choose options that provide additional benefits. Adding an option will impact your income - just press 'recalculate' to see how.

Dependant Pension

This is an option that allows you to leave something behind for a dependant, such as your spouse or civil partner, if you were to die before them.

Our online service can only provide a quotation if your dependant is aged over 50 - if your dependant is younger then please call us.

In most cases, the dependant’s pension is only payable to the person you have named at the beginning of the policy and if your circumstances change, you cannot subsequently change who this is paid to.

However, some annuity providers offer the option of setting up a joint income on an “any spouse” basis, in exchange for a smaller annuity income from outset. This means that should you die, your dependant’s pension would be paid to your spouse or civil partner at the time of your death. This option is only available from some providers and is not available online. If you are interested in this option, please call us.


Please select your dependant's relationship to you.

Please select your dependant's relationship to you.

Our online comparison service can only provide a quotation if your dependant is aged between 50 and 99.

If your dependant is outside of this range then please call us on the phone number displayed on the right, so we can obtain a special quote for your circumstances.


Please enter your dependant's date of birth.

Our online comparison service can only provide a quotation if your dependant is aged between 50 and 99.

If your dependant is outside of this range then please call us on the phone number displayed on the right, so we can obtain a special quote for your circumstances.

You can choose different proportions of your income. The higher the dependant's pension you choose, the lower your annuity income will be.

Points to consider are:-
- What would be your dependant's need for income if you were to die?
- Does your spouse or dependant have pension provision of their own?
- Do you have joint savings they would inherit?

Please select an option.

Guarantee period

You can now choose another option which guarantees that payments will be made for a minimum number of years, should you die within that timeframe.

In that case payments would continue for the remainder of the guaranteed time, and be paid to a nominated beneficiary, such as a spouse, civil partner or child.

This option can be useful if you want the peace of mind of knowing that annuity payments will continue for a set number of years from outset.

If you wish to consider a guarantee period other than 5 or 10 years, please ring us on the number above or email us using the contact form, a link to which can be found at the top of the page.

Please select an option

Overlap

You have chosen to have both a dependant’s pension and a guarantee period, you need to decide whether, should you die in the guarantee period, you would like both options to pay out at the same time select "yes“ (with overlap), or if you would prefer them to pay out one after the other select "no“ (without overlap).

You may want to consider that if both options are to provide benefits to the same person, whether they would need two incomes during the guarantee period.

Please select an option

Inflation protection

You can choose whether your annuity income will increase annually (escalation) or remain at the same level throughout your lifetime.

Choosing Inflation protection (escalation) means your annuity will increase annually at a set percentage or you can choose to increase in line with a measure of inflation (call us for this option).

You can alternatively choose to keep your payments level throughout your lifetime – this will mean you have more income initially but if the cost of living rises your income will buy you less over time.

Please select an option.

Step 5. Frequency and timing of payments

We now need to know how you would like your annual income paid to you.

Frequency

You can choose how frequently you receive your income.

Less frequent income payments will mean budgeting for longer periods. An annuity will often supplement or replace a wage or salary and will be treated as taxable income so you need to allow for this in your calculations.

Please select an option.

Timing

A second element to this is whether you receive the payment upfront, at the start of your payment frequency (in advance) or at the end of the payment frequency (in arrears).

Receiving payment at the end of your chosen period may give you slightly more income but you will need to budget for the period up to receiving this income.

Please select an option

Proportion

Because you’ve chosen to be paid at the end of your chosen period (in arrears), you can decide whether payments should cease immediately on your death or whether a final proportionate payment should be paid (covering the period between your last payment date and the date of your death).

If you choose for your annuity income to be paid less frequently (for example yearly) and in arrears, the final payment due on death could be substantial.

If you choose monthly payments and don’t include proportion, there will be a minimal impact as the most that could be lost is a month's income (if you were to die on the last day of the month) or less.

Your beneficiaries will receive the payment which is due after you die.

Please select an option.

Please select the option that best describes how you treat your diabetes.

Please select the option that best describes how you treat your diabetes.

Please select the relevant condition from the list.

Has Diabetes led to you developing any of these conditions?

Please indicate how many times per day you take insulin.

Please select how many times per day you take insulin.

Please select the option that best describes your diagnosis.

Please state which stage you cancer has reached.

Please select the option that reflects when your condition was first diagnosed.

Please select how long you have suffered from this condition.

Please select the option that most closely matches your situation.

Please state when you were last symptomatic.

By treatment we mean either by prescribed medication (excluding aspirin) or through hospitalisation - please select the option that most closely matches your situation.

Please state when you last had treament for this condition.

Please indicate if your treatment was through hospitalisation.

Please state if you have ever had hospital treatment for this condition.

Please select the option that most closely matches when you had hospital treatment.

Please state when you had hospital treatment for this condition.

Please select from the list.

Please select if you have needed any of these treatments.

This would be any prescribed medication you have been given for the condition in the last two years.

Please state if you have been receiving prescribed medication for this condition for the last 2 years.

Please tell us how many prescribed medicines you have been receiving for this condition for the last two years.

Please state how many prescribed medicines you have been receiving.

Please ensure you tell us about any mobility problems you may have so we can apply the relevant enhancements to your annuity income.

Please state if you have mobility problems.

Please select a level of mobility from the list.

Please state what form of mobility problem.

Please select the relevant type of control from the list.

Please select the relevant type of control from the list.

Please select the relevant condition from the list.

Please state if your dependant has suffered from any of these diabetes-linked conditions

Please indicate how many times per day they take insulin.

Please state how many times per day your dependant takes insulin.

Please select the option that best describes their diagnosis.

Please state what stage your dependant's cancer has reached.

Please select the option that reflects when their condition was first diagnosed.

Please state how long your dependant has suffered from this condition.

Please select the option that most closely matches their situation.

Please state when you dependant was last symptomatic.

By treatment we mean either by medication or through hospitalisation - please select the option that most closely matches their situation.

Please state when your dependant last had treatment for this condition.

Please indicate if their treatment was through hospitalisation.

Please state whether your dependant has had hospital treatment for this condition.

Please select the option that most closely matches when you had hospital treatment.

Please state when you had hospital treatment for this condition.

Please select from the list.

Please select if you have needed any of these treatments.

This would be any prescribed medication you have been given for the condition in the last two years.

Please state if you have been receiving prescribed medication for this condition for the last 2 years.

Please tell us how many prescribed medicines you have been receiving for this condition for the last two years.

Please state how many prescribed medicines you have been receiving.

Please ensure you tell us about any mobility problems your dependant may have so we can apply the relevant enhancements to your annuity income.

Please state if your dependant suffers from mobility problems.

Please select from the list the most appropriate level of mobility.

Please state what form of mobility problem.

Step 6. Your personal, lifestyle and medical details

To ensure we get the most accurate quote for you, we need details about your (and your dependant's if applicable) health and lifestyle, including details about medical conditions and medications.

Please be completely honest with us and take reasonable care to ensure your answers are accurate. If you aren't sure or don't know the answer to any question please call us or seek clarification from your General Practitioner. In certain circumstances some providers may request a medical assessment.

Once you complete this form we will contact leading annuity providers and obtain a range of quotes for you to choose from.

You can exit the form at any point and come back later on to complete it - your details will automatically be saved.

Your location can be important. Life expectation rates differ according to the region of the country that you live in. Annuity providers will use your location (by means of your postcode) in calculating how much annuity income you will receive. Please note you must reside in the United Kingdom to use this service.

Please enter your postcode.

Please select your Address.

Address incorrect? Select the closest address and edit here.

Please enter complete address with valid postcode.

Please enter valid House name or number.

Please enter valid Address line 1.

Please enter valid Town.

Please enter valid County.

Please enter valid Country.

Your height is used inconjunction with your weight as annuity providers will consider your Body Mass Index (BMI) when calculating annuity quotations.

Please select your height - the online quote system is limited to heights between 4ft and 6ft 11inches (135cm – 210 cm). If you are outside of this limit please call us for a quote.

Your weight is used inconjunction with your height as annuity providers will consider your Body Mass Index (BMI) when calculating annuity quotations.

Please select your weight - the online quote system is limited to weights between 5st and 34st 13lbs (35kg-200kg). If you are outside of this limit please call us for a quote.

For clarification; you need to have been a consistent, daily smoker for at least the last 10 years. If you have recently given up then please enter "No".

Please select an option.

Please tell us the type of tobacco product that you smoke.

Please enter what form of tobacco you smoke.

Please tell us the typical number you smoke per day.

Please enter the number you smoke per day on average.

Please tell us the typical amount of tobacco you smoke per week.

Please enter the quantity of tobacco smoke per week on average.

Please ensure you inform us of any medical problems or operations you may have had so we can apply any relevant enhancements to your annuity income.

Please tell us if you have suffered from any other medical condition.

Enter the first few characters of your condition into the textbox. After a few seconds matching entries from our database will appear below. Please select your condition from this list.

Some examples of medicines are Ramipril, Atenolol, Bendroflumethiazide, Simvastatin, Ezetimibe or Bezafibrate.

Please tell us if you are taking any prescription medication (excluding aspirin) for blood pressure or cholesterol problems.

Some examples of medicines used for high blood pressure are Ramipril, Atenolol or Bendroflumethiazide - please exclude aspirin.

Please enter how many medications are taken per day.

Some examples of medicines used for high cholesterol are Simvastatin, Ezetimibe or Bezafibrate.

Please enter how many medications are taken per day.

Medical questionnaire for your dependant

Please select their title.

Please select their gender.

Please enter their first name.

Please enter their surname.

Providers will consider their height in calculating their Body Mass Index (BMI) when calculating annuity income.

Please select your dependant's height - the online quote system is limited to heights between 4ft and 6ft 11inches (135cm – 210 cm). If they are outside of this limit please call us for a quote.

Providers will consider their weight in calculating their Body Mass Index (BMI) when calculating annuity income.

Please state your dependant's weight.

For clarification; the dependant needs to have been a consistent, daily smoker for at least the last 10 years. If they have recently given up then please enter "No".

Please tell us if your dependant smokes.

Please tell us the type of tobacco product that your dependant smokes.

Please select what form of tobacco your dependant smokes.

Please tell us the typical number your dependant smokes per day

Please state how many your dependant smokes per day on average.

Please tell us the typical amount of tobacco they smoke per day.

Please state how much tobacco your dependant smokes per day.

Please ensure you tell us of any medical problems or operations they may have had so we can apply any relevant enhancements to your annuity income.

Please tell us if your dependant has suffered from a medical condition.

Enter the first few characters of their condition into the textbox. After a couple of seconds matching entries from our database will appear below.

Please select their condition from the list.

Some examples of medicines used for high blood pressure are Ramipril, Atenolol or Bendroflumethiazide.

Please tell us if your dependant is taking prescribed medication (excluding aspirin) for blood pressure or cholesterol.

Some examples of medicines used for high blood pressure are Ramipril, Atenolol or Bendroflumethiazide - please exclude aspirin.

Please state the number of prescribed medications taken for blood pressure each day

Some examples of medicines used for high cholesterol are Simvastatin, Ezetimibe or Bezafibrate

Please state the number of medications taken for cholersterol each day

Requesting an application pack

You don’t have to complete this information but it may speed up the application process if you happen to know it. If you don’t have the information to hand, just click ‘Request application pack’ at the bottom of the screen.If you have more than one pension fund policy please click the ‘Add another fund’ button.

You can add up to five policies – should you have more policies or wish to discuss them with us, then please call us.

Once complete please click ‘Request application pack’. Completion times vary dependant on the provider (on average this takes 3-4 weeks).

Total amount in your pension fund.


£

Please tell us the name of the company your pension is with.


There seems to be a problem with the pension provider you entered - please call us.

Please tell us the approximate amount in this fund.


There seems to be a problem with the pension amount entered - please round any figures up to the nearest pound and try again. If this doesn't work please call us.

Please tell us your pension Policy number if you know it.

There seems to be a problem with the pension policy you entered - please try entering it just using letters and numbers - our system won't recognise other characters. If this doesn't solve it then please call us.

Please tell us the name of the company your pension is with.

Remove

There seems to be a problem with the pension provider you entered - please call us.

Please tell us the approximate amount in this fund.

There seems to be a problem with the pension amount entered - please round any figures up to the nearest pound and try again. If this doesn't work please call us.

Please tell us your pension Policy number if you know it.

There seems to be a problem with the pension policy you entered - please try entering it just using letters and numbers - our system won't recognise other characters. If this doesn't solve it then please call us.

Please check with your pension provider if your pension contains any guaranteed annuity rates - see our guide for more information about guaranteed annuity rates.
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