Well, there are exactly two schools of thought on lens hoods:
1. A must have for the aforementioned, and accurate, reasons, OR
2. they're something else to squeeze into an already bulging camera bag.
I'm of the second school, not using lens hoods, in general. What does "in general" mean?
In regards to wide angle lens hoods, I'll just use a hat or my hand to block flare.
How can I tell if there is flare?
1. If the color looks a bit washed out in the view finder, I'll hold my hand up until I see the image darken in the finder (this takes a bit of experience to realize), and
2. I'll look at the front element and if I see a small bright speck of light, that will result in lens flare. Hold up your hand between the sun and the lens and you should see it disappear.
But, using longer lenses with longer lens hoods, I'll definitely use a lens hood to block rain, blowing snow, blowing sand from hitting the front of the lens.
I have a separate bag with accessories, like lens hoods, but the only one that I feel I need is the hood for my 70-200mm.
Other professionals wouldn't be caught dead without using lens hoods.
As far as protecting the lens against droppage, that actually is a valid point. I've become very careful when carrying lenses around to avoid dropping or hitting the lens on anything. I mostly avoid that by putting all lenses away when changing locations. That is easier for a nature photographer to do than for a sports or people photographer.
Bottom line: As with all things in photography, personal work style and preferences are the bottom line.
As stated earlier, there are two schools of thought, here. Which one are you?