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Bean and I drove to New York State at the end of June for what is now our annual retreat. I paid $600 for our spots (meals and accommodation) back in May. I anticipated spending about $200 US at the gift shop, though I'm pretty sure I went over that because I brought a credit card with me. I knew from the year before that filling up the car usually meant pre-paying with cash, so two days before our departure I went to a bank branch to buy $100 US cash.

It was a Saturday and there was a big line but I waited patiently and read all the ads on the screens behind the tellers heads. This bank already holds my mortgage, car loan, and two of four of my student loans, so they didn't advertise anything of interest to me. When I was waiting for the teller to process my request, I noticed a piece of paper taped to the counter that said "travel insurance." I asked the teller if my VISA included travel insurance, and was told no. So, I asked how much insurance would be for Bean and myself to travel for 8 days to the USA, and it was just over $50, so I purchased it.

I hadn't even thought of travel insurance, and I didn't buy it last year. But it's a good thing I did so this year, because on the Friday of the retreat, our fifth day there, Bean landed the wrong way while jumping off a slide in the playground and went into shock. Next thing I know we're back in the car, headed to the Emergency room at the hospital 20 minutes away.

The hospital wanted to see my insurance policy right away, but there was no policy number written on the booklet the teller gave me. I called the 1-800 number to report the emergency, and asked for the policy number to give to the hospital. They had no record of us in their system.

Bean was treated quickly and put in a splint. I couldn't believe they let us leave without making me pay, but that's what happened. I promised to call them as soon as I had a policy number, and I did, but it took several days.

What happened was the purchase was made on a Saturday, and the bank mailed the paperwork to the insurance company on Monday. Then Canada Day was on the Wednesday. Apparently it takes 3-5 days to generate a policy number, and we got caught in the bank holiday.

Lessons learned:
#1: purchase travel insurance.
#2: purchase it several days or weeks in advance of the trip, so that I have the policy number with me when we leave the country.
#3: buy it direct from the insurance company online, which may generate a policy number immediately. I bought it at my bank branch, who then passed it along to Manulife. When I made several frantic phone calls to the bank to get the policy, they just passed me along each time to Manulife. Might as well cut out the middle man.

Bean is fine. He was in the sling for ten days, the first two of which he was completely miserable (also the last two days of the retreat, which sucked). We got an appointment at our local cast clinic as soon as we could, and the doctor there confirmed that it wasn't a broken arm, just a sprain. I guess the US doctor just wanted to take precaution. To the tune of $969.00 USD.