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Excite polishes auto channel

Excite is unveiling new features on its auto channel, including links to online quotes for auto insurance.

Excite (XCIT) has unveiled new features on its auto channel, including links to InsWeb for online quotes for auto insurance.

Ironically, InsWeb has beaten Intuit (INTU), a partner that owns 19 percent of Excite's stock, to the punch on Excite. Intuit has promised its InsureMarket service will offer online quotes, but it hasn't delivered yet.

Excite's auto channel also offers direct links to several auto insurers and to RealQuote, which offers California auto rates based on filings with the state insurance department.

"Our goal is to create the best consumer experience and product," Bret Bullington, Excite's executive vice president, said. "We are typically about offering options to people. This is a lot about offering different options to different people in different places."

Thus Intuit, which provides most of the content for Excite's business and investing channel, may provide auto insurance quotes in that channel as well as eventually for the auto channel, alongside InsWeb, RealQuote, and the rest.

InsWeb came to Excite as a partner of Consumers Car Club, which cut the deal with the search engine. InsWeb's presence on Excite broadens its exposure considerably beyond its current standalone site.

Like RealQuote, InsWeb lets auto insurance buyers comparison shop among carriers, although InsWeb also lets them click a button to start a transaction. InsWeb offers auto insurance in 47 states from leading carriers such as State Farm, Nationwide, AIG, TIG Holdings, American Express, and Mercury Insurance Group. In California, InsWeb offers quotes from all six carriers.