Income protection simply provides insurance for your income. If you can't go to work because of sickness or injury, income protection can provide a monthly income to replace your salary while you're unable to work.
Typically, payments are between 75-85% of your normal income. It is a sensible insurance to have if you rely solely on your income to live or have large financial commitments that would suffer if you were unable to earn an income.
You can use the payments for whatever you like, including:
Maintaining your standard of living
Paying your mortgage
Paying credit card and other debts
Buying groceries and other everyday items
Paying your dependants school fees
Helping to cover the cost of your recovery