Take your last puff and filter out big premiums

News: Insurance reward for smokers who quit; mortgage rate rise at Scottish Widows; HBOS sets up £130m compensation fund

Planning to kick the habit on National No Smoking Day this week? You could kick high insurance premiums as well.

Planning to kick the habit on National No Smoking Day this week? You could kick high insurance premiums as well.

Those giving up on Wednesday will be able to slash their life cover, according to independent broker LifeSearch, but you'll have to stay off tobacco for a year to qualify.

"Most companies class smokers as non-smokers once they have given up for 12 months or more," said spokesman Kevin Carr. Those planning to stop should remind themselves to rearrange their policy at that point, he adds.

Calculations from the price- comparison service insure-supermarket.com suggest that a 35-year-old male smoker can pay £98 a year more for the same cover compared with a non-smoker. Savings of nearly 50 per cent are available if they stub out the fags once and for all.

Smokers close to retirement and with no intention of giving up can still save hundreds of pounds by shopping around for a better deal on an annuity - the fixed yearly income you receive when you cash in your private pension.

A shorter life expectancy means you can earn more from your annuity because the money won't, in theory, have to be paid out for so long.

Check with different pro- viders: many will offer "enhanced annuities" for smokers.

Blow for borrowers

Borrowers with a standard variable-rate mortgage at Scottish Widows face higher repayments after last week's decision to raise its standard variable rate (SVR) from 6.09 to 6.19 per cent.

Lenders are usually quick to pass on rises to SVR borrowers when the Bank of England increases the base rate, but Scottish Widows' decision comes ahead of this Thursday's monthly rate-setting meeting. Although the base rate has stayed at 4.75 per cent for seven months, Scottish Widows has raised its cost of borrowing by 1.25 per cent in the same period. A company spokesman said the increase was part of a regular review, but it is bad news for borrowers.

David Hollingworth, from independent broker London & Country, said that while lenders often increase their rates by a wider margin than any increase in the base rate, Scottish Widows' move ahead of the Bank of England meeting is very unusual. "Borrowers paying the lender's SVR should take this decision as a prompt to switch to a more competitive deal such as a tracker," he said.

Melanie Bien, associate director at broker Savills Private Finance, says borrowers should look for a lender offering a guarantee on the SVR. "Then you will not be at the mercy of your lender changing the rate as and when it wants," she said.

Scottish Widows last raised its rate from 5.84 to 6.01 per cent in September last year following a base rate rise from 4.5 to 4.75 per cent in August.

Endowment mis-selling

HBOS, the banking group that includes the Halifax and Bank of Scotland, has set aside £130m in compensation for endowment mis-selling. The "fund" was announced last week as the group reported £4.6bn in pre-tax profits. A spokesman for HBOS said the money was a "one-off provision".

HBOS customers are among millions of endowment holders facing a sizeable shortfall - of an average of £5,500 - on the policies they were sold in the 1980s as a way of repaying their mortgage debt with a lump sum at the end of the 25-year term.

This is according to figures from endowment compensation specialist www.seeingred.co.uk, which show eight in 10 policyholders are currently facing shortfalls. The firm estimates that 60 per cent of these may have been mis-sold a policy.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Customer Service Executive / Inbound Customer Service Agent

    £18 - 23k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Customer Service Executiv...

    ASP.NET Web Developer / .NET Developer

    £60 - 65k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a ASP.NET Web Developer / ....

    Operational Risk Manager - Asset Management

    £60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...

    Project Coordinator - 12 month contract

    £27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...

    Day In a Page

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album