A survey of 1,000 tenants suggests that only around half have contents insurance.
Nationwide, which conducted the poll, says the contents of an average rental property amounts to £25,126; only 52 per cent of tenants said they had contents insurance.
Nationwide says the 48 per cent without any contents cover suggests the equivalent of 2.13m households across the UK.
Close to a fifth of renters mistakenly believe it is the landlord’s responsibility to arrange contents insurance, while others avoid cover as a way of reducing their monthly outgoings.
The building society claims that this lack of awareness around home insurance cover could also leave many renters in breach of tenancy agreements as a third said they didn’t know if it was stipulated in their contract that contents insurance is required.
According to the research, some landlords are starting to clamp down on tenants, with 39 per cent being required to arrange contents insurance and over two thirds of landlords asking to see proof of contents insurance before they could sign their tenancy agreement.
Darren Black, head of general insurance at Nationwide Building Society, says: “It’s concerning that many renters don’t have contents insurance and are living under the mistaken belief that their landlord has cover in place to protect their belongings if they are lost, stolen or damaged.
“They could also be putting their tenancy at risk as many landlords stipulate that they must have cover in place as part of their tenancy agreement. When finances are tight, insurance can seem like an unnecessary expense, but without it you could end up losing everything you own.”