FWIW, the UV filter (I'm on my third one now) has saved the front lens on my 70-200 f2.8L IS twice.what happened?i have been shooting for years and yet to damage a front element and im pretty hard on my gear.if the uv filter smashes theres a good chance your filter will damage your front element anyway so i guess you mean from scratches
Not really, but if you drive without a seatbelt, because you don't have accidents you're just fine.
I have a collection of scratched and cracked filters and I'm fairly careful. One the wind blew over a tripod (when a freight train came from the opposite direction at about 80MPH) fell on the lens face. Another a car kicked up a small bucket full of gravel and threw it at me. (of course I was standing on the edge of a race track)
Best reason is, when something gets on the filter, I grab a corner of my shirt and wipe it off, and I'm back working. If I ruin a filter, so what? Also there's rain, dust, bugs, sap, branches, mist, spray, and sticky fingers, unless you only shoot indoors.
And no I've never found that a UV or Haze filter ruins my images. But I have found that it's possible to save my lens from accidents
. Every lens I own gets a filter when it's new, and it stays on forever.