Up to a quarter of all UK households do not have household contents insurance, finds a survey into financial exclusion by the Financial Services Authority.

This means that insurers are losing out on an estimated £700m a year, according to the Association of British Insurers, which calculated the average premium at £133.

The FSA report also finds that 27% of employees have no occupational or private pension, 45% of households have no life insurance cover, and 7% of households have no bank or building society accounts.

Christine Farnish, FSA's director of consumer relations said: “The causes of financial exclusion are many and varied and there are no quick fix answers. This research provides us with a means of identifying areas where our efforts could be best focused.”

Certain groups of people such as lone parents, those on low wages, ethnic minorities and the unemployed are more likely to have limited access to personal services.

Scotland is blighted with the worst figures for financial exclusion. Other regions with higher than average levels include the north, north west, Greater London and Wales.

The report identifies key issues to be tackled. These include improving financial literacy and increasing access through outlets such as supermarkets.

The report also comments on a number of initiatives available to reduce financial exclusion.