This can be taken to provide an amount each month for the full term of the policy if you are unable to earn/work due to ill health, often referred to as Permanent Health Insurance (PHI).
This pays out each month in the short term (normally one to two years) if you are unable to earn/work. It can be taken all together or broken into accident and sickness, or just unemployment insurance if you are only worried about losing your job.
Some policies need to be taken out in conjunction with a new mortgage, however others allow you to just insure a certain amount of income each month, irrespective of existing or planned mortgage payments.
Payment protection insurance is optional. There are other providers of payment protection insurance and other products designed to protect you against the loss of income. Please visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for more information about insurance.