Three million UK households in social housing schemes lack contents insurance despite being twice as likely to be burgled, according to a report sponsored by Royal & SunAlliance.

The group believes that a lack of insurance can plunge those who can least afford to replace items damaged or stolen into further poverty. The insurer wants to see housing associations set up schemes to make insurance more accessible to low income households which are at risk.

The report found that only half of those in the lowest income decile possess home contents insurance, compared to 78% in the UK as a whole. One way of encouraging more people to take up insurance, the report suggests, would be to offer a policy included in rent payments. Insuring for lower amounts than is standard may also keep premiums more affordable.

With-rent insurance schemes allow people to pay their insurance on a weekly basis with their rent, with a typical premium of one or two pounds a week. The Association of British Insurers has noted that take-up through these schemes has been disappointing, although they continue to grow both in number and in size. R&SA has 172 schemes with approximately 250,000 policyholders.