It's definitely having a physical object available, for me. It's also been way easier to share my music and have people listen in its entirety, when handing them a casette. Those are the people that tend to get in contact with me after. Not so much when I send links. I also love being able to dub a handful and place them on the shelves at thrift stores. Whether they ever get out or not.
A lot of it for me was also expense. I got lucky when taking a job at a lucrative area's goodwill. They wouldn't sell casette or decks. I was able to get cases full of high bias tapes and decent enough decks to make sure anyone I know who wants one can have one.
Casette based recorders also had a long period of being nearly free, so I was able be to very cheaply find different machines with workflows I like.
You're right that there certainly is a chance for them getting destroyed, but I find that it tends to correlate to the quality of the deck/tape. I have a handful of really old Ampex tapes that a guy dubbed before being shipped out to Vietnam....still play and sound just fine.