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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Homeowners covered by Citizens Property Insurance may be looking at a rate hike next year.

The board that oversees the state-created property insurer will vote Tuesday on a proposal to raise homeowner rates an average 5.3 percent and commercial accounts by an 8.4 percent average.

State regulators must approve the hike before it can take effect in February.

Citizens has more than 451,000 customers, many of them living near the coast or in South Florida.

Florida has been spared from major hurricanes in recent years, but Citizens officials contend rate hikes are needed to deal with claims associated with water losses not associated with storms.

The proposed hikes vary by the type of policy purchased and location. South Florida homeowners could be paying more next year, while residents in other coastal counties could be paying less.

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