Moving Resources

Understanding Moving Liability

As a credible family owned & operated moving company, Happ Movers understands that your possessions need to be handled with the utmost care. We always demonstrate our best effort to transport your items safely and any damage is rare. However, these moving liability options are to help you take control of the cost of your move versus the liability you wish to share.

Everyone’s situation is unique, that’s why it’s important to understand the different options we offer for loss and damage protection. Always choose a licensed, professional mover. Under Illinois law, “anyone offering to perform moving and storage service for hire must be licensed by the state of Illinois. Licensed professional movers must comply with the Illinois Commerce Commission’s standards for insurance coverage and handling, loading, moving, and unloading your property; and they must provide those services at reasonable rates and within a reasonable time frame.”

Below we provide several resources for helping you choose the plan that is right for you.

Option 1: Minimum Carrier Liability

This option comes at no charge. Choosing this option means that you are sharing liability for any damage with the mover, so there is no additional fee. In the event of any damage, your items will be valued at 30 cents per pound, per article.  If you file a claim for damage, Happ Movers will make a reasonable attempt to repair or replace any damaged item at a cost up to 30¢ per pound the article weighs.

You will receive the same careful service you have come to expect from Happ Movers, but you will potentially have less protection in the case of an accident during the move than you would with Option 2. If you choose this option, write on the bill of lading “30 cents per pound per article” and sign it.

Option 2: Declared Value Increase

You may choose to purchase additional valuation, so the mover assumes a greater liability than in Option 1, but it comes at an additional charge. You must declare a value for your entire shipment (partial valuation is not an option).  If you file a claim for damage, Happ Movers will make a reasonable attempt to repair or replace any damaged item at a cost up to the item’s current value.

For example: a $20,000 valuation costs $100,  a $50,000 valuation costs $250, a$100,000 valuation costs $500.

If you choose this option, write on the bill of lading your declared value and sign it.  You will be charged $5 per $1000 of declared value as the cost for this valuation.

Option 3: Third Party Policy

A third option is to purchase replacement value insurance from a licensed insurance broker.  Contact your homeowners’ or renters’ insurer for more details or check online for third party policies specifically for residential moving coverage.


In accordance with Illinois Law, there are items for which a mover is never liable, regardless of which liability option you have chosen.  The most common of these items are listed below. A more complete list can be found on your Bill of Lading or through the Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association website.

Examples of a few items which mover’s are not liable in Illinois include:
  • Engineered wood furniture (furniture you assemble yourself)
  • Electronic functioning of any item.  This includes TVs, computers, clocks, stereos, air conditioners, appliances, etc.
  • Jewelry, money, documents or items of higher value unless separately declared
  • Items that have been previously repaired
  • Any boxed item that was packed by the owner

Additional Resources

Consumer’s Guide to Household Goods Movers in Illinois:

This brochure is published by the Illinois Commerce Commission.  It has things to know when making a decision on a mover.  It is a comprehensive resource that includes information about warehousing and interstate moving as well as local moving, so some information does not apply to local moving.  Anyone moving in Illinois should have a look at this one.

Understanding your Options for Loss and Damage Protection:

This article is published by the Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association.  It does a nice job of explaining the laws in Illinois regarding what happens if there is any Loss or Damage during your move.  It gives more information about your different liability options for local moving.

Bill of Lading

This is the ICC form that outlines the terms and conditions under which all movers in Illinois must operate including rules about liability, payment, making a claim.  It also has information about specific items not covered under the mover’s liability.  You might consider taking these items yourself if you are concerned.

Download our printable Moving Liability brochure