I've always used UV filters or Starlight filters on camera lenses back since I had film cameras and it was needed to reduce haze and improve images. The habit has continued with digital lenses particularly with the adage "it's cheaper to replace a UV filter than a lens". I hadn't really thought much about it until this week.
On a family holiday last week I went to use my Canon 80D only to find the lens was shattered. On closer inspection it was the UV filter that was shattered and the filter itself was too tight to remove from the 18-135 lens. I removed the grass fragments and was able to use the camera as before (no damage to the lens or camera) and removed the filter this evening with a pair of pliers.
I then went about researching what UV filter to get as a replacement, and the general consensus was that if anything you are better without it, and that digital cameras don't need UV filters. However, I then remembered that the whole reason I was reading this was that I had nearly broken the lens... so I just bought the same UV filter as I used before.
It is definitely worth having the filter to protect the lens... if you are in such an environment when you really think it has a negative effect on your photos you can always remove it.