Philosophy is important, even if the views of each different philosopher can be radically different, and philosophy itself is not a precise science. Thus, how reliable philosophy is remains open to debate.
The importance of philosophy can be understood when we think about things such as ethics, and the fact that from Plato, Socrates and Aristotle right up to the present day, philosophers were impacting on society, and laying down their own theories, which formed a lot of the tenets on which civilization is judged and based.
With philosophy, we have something which are, often unproven, opinions, but they are opinions which often ring true in the human heart. That is why the names of so many philosophers resonate down the centuries. We can almost say that philosophers were the guardians of civilization.
Philosophy is reliable to the extent that logical explanations are sought to explain things, and in philosophy this can be anything from politics to religion to aesthetics, and, as mentioned earlier, ethics.
Human beings have a capacity to never stop looking for answers to questions - whether it be the physical problem solved by early man in discovering fire to keep warm, or with the more modern problems of politicians solving an argument without losing face, but without causing offence either. Continually overcoming problems, often with great ingenuity, throughout the centuries has been the reason the human race has evolved into the most powerful species on the planet. Philosophy may, on the face of it, seem to be of no importance in a practical world, but it is something which has made us think about so many things. Would mankind have been interested in going into space, but not for philosophers wondering for centuries why we were here and where we came from?
Because of philosophy, and it inspiring the urge in successive generations to find answers to many things - from the meaning of life to what defines civilization, we can say that philosophy is extremely important to society. Philosophy wondered about the workings of the universe and the human mind in ancient times, and, as a result, science was prodded into looking, sometimes unethically, for the answers to those questions.
The benefit philosophy has played in the history of mankind has been profound, and though, by itself, philosophy has not provided many answers, it has provided many questions that we have striven to have answered, and are still striving to have answered.