If you were to look up the definition of "volatility" in the dictionary, don't be surprised if it made reference to the stock market in 2020. Based on the CBOE Volatility Index, the stock market has registered its most volatile year on record.

Then again, if investors were to focus solely on year-to-date performance, they'd know nothing was askew. The S&P 500 ended last week marginally up for the year, while the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite has set 32 all-time closing highs since the year began.

But make no mistake about it, history suggests that another stock market crash or sizable correction is coming. After reaching a bottom in each of the past eight bear markets (defined as a decline of at least 20% from a recent high), there have been a combined 13 corrections ranging between 10% and 19% within a relatively short time frame. In other words, retracing from a bear market bottom typically yields one or two sizable hiccups.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Don't worry, though. These hiccups are not a problem if you're invested in the right companies. When the next stock market crash or correction occurs, here are three stocks you'll want to buy.

Teladoc Health

One of the smartest ways to navigate a stock market correction or crash is through owning defensive companies that shouldn't see much change in demand no matter how well or poorly the economy is performing. It's not often those companies are fast-growing, but that's exactly what you'll get with telemedicine giant Teladoc Health (TDOC -4.36%).

Precision medicine, which focuses on individual patient needs, is the future of the healthcare industry. Not only is Teladoc making it easier and more convenient for patients to connect with their primary care physician (PCP) or specialty providers, but it's actually making the entire healthcare process cheaper. Insurers usually save money by approving telemedicine visits, and patient follow-up care can be improved by making access to a PCP that much easier.

While there's no doubt that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has put some pep into the step of telemedicine providers, we were already witnessing a major uptick in telemedicine demand before the pandemic. In the June-ended quarter, Teladoc reported a better-than-tripling in total visits to 2.8 million, with total paid U.S. membership up a cool 92% year-over-year. 

As one final note, don't overlook Teladoc's merger with healthcare solutions provider Livongo Health (LVGO) as a major growth driver. Livongo has at least doubled its Diabetes member subscribers on a year-over-year basis for the past three years, and generated three consecutive quarterly profits. The intriguing aspect of Livongo is that it's only acquired 1.2% of the U.S. diabetes market (34.2 million people), through June. Over the long run, Livongo and Teladoc could prove to be a match made in high-growth heaven.

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SSR Mining

When the going gets tough, the tough typically pile into fear-based stocks, such as precious-metal mining stocks. That's why gold and silver miner SSR Mining (SSRM 0.88%) could be the perfect addition if the stock market crashes.

One significant catalyst here is that the price of gold recently hit an all-time nominal high, and there's nothing to suggest the lustrous yellow metal is anywhere near finished heading higher. Global bonds yields have been plunging for years, which means income seekers have few avenues to earn an inflation-topping return. That makes gold a particularly attractive investment.

Furthermore, the U.S. Federal Reserve has pledged unlimited quantitative easing to help prop up the economy and financial markets. This should cause the U.S. money supply to soar and ultimately weaken the U.S. dollar. Since the dollar and gold have an inverse relationship, this means good things for the shiny yellow metal.

More specific to SSR Mining, it's one of the few gold-mining stocks to sport a net-cash position, and has been delivering record output from its Seabee mine in Canada. Although this streak will be interrupted due to COVID-19 shutdowns, the company is very capable of producing more than 420,000 ounces of gold annually with a cash operating margin that's close to $1,000 an ounce.

Just as exciting, SSR Mining is combining via an all-share deal with Alacer Gold (ALIAF). Alacer's key asset is the Copler mine in Turkey, which is capable of 360,000 ounces of gold annually. On a combined basis, SSR Mining and Alacer should be able produce 780,000 ounces of gold a year, with $450 million in annual free cash flow through 2022. That's a big-time value proposition for investors.

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Image source: Getty Images.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals

A third stock you'll want to buy when the stock market crashes is drug developer Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN).

Though there are dozens upon dozens of biotech and pharmaceutical stocks for investors to choose from, Alexion brings a couple of key advantages to the table. For one, it's a company that's focused almost exclusively on ultra-rare indications. There's certainly risk in developing therapies that target very small patient pools, but the reward is incredible if a rare-disease drugmaker is successful. Also, there's virtually no competition in rare-disease indications.

Even more impressive has been Alexion's innovation. For more than a decade, Alexion has leaned on rare-disease therapy Soliris as its blockbuster. Despite being a $4 billion a year drug, there's the concern that generic drugmakers could pounce when Soliris loses its patent exclusivity. This is what prompted Ultomiris to enter the picture. Ultomiris is only administered once every eight weeks, as opposed to every two weeks with Soliris. Over time, Ultomiris should replace Soliris, thusly protecting Alexion's cash flow for a long time to come.

As a reminder, economic conditions are unlikely to ever phase Alexion. Since it provides unique therapies, it has little issue garnering insurer coverage for its treatments. Likewise, patients usually need ongoing care, which means a recession should have virtually no impact on demand for Alexion's drugs.

This is the type of stock you can buy with confidence if and when the stock market plunges.